Sen. Lindsey Graham issues statement on Syria missile strikes

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WASHINGTON (WCBD/AP) – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and John McCain (R-Arizona) released a joint statement following the US military strikes in Syria.

The statements come on the heels of President Donald Trump’s order of a missile strike on the Shayrat air base, southeast of Homs, over a chemical weapons attack he blamed on Syria’s government.

We salute the skill and professionalism of the U.S. Armed Forces who carried out tonight’s strikes in Syria. Acting on the orders of their commander-in-chief, they have sent an important message the United States will no longer stand idly by as Assad, aided and abetted by Putin’s Russia, slaughters innocent Syrians with chemical weapons and barrel bombs.

Unlike the previous administration, President Trump confronted a pivotal moment in Syria and took action. For that, he deserves the support of the American people. Building on tonight’s credible first step, we must finally learn the lessons of history and ensure that tactical success leads to strategic progress. That means following through with a new, comprehensive strategy in coordination with our allies and partners to end the conflict in Syria. The first measure in such a strategy must be to take Assad’s air force—which is responsible not just for the latest chemical weapons attack, but countless atrocities against the Syrian people—completely out of the fight. We must also bolster support for the vetted Syrian opposition and establish safe zones to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis. As we do, we can and must continue the campaign to achieve ISIS’s lasting defeat.

The U.S. used the “deconfliction line” to warn Russia ahead of time that the strike was coming. In the aftermath of the attack, which Syria said killed at least six people, Russia announced it would suspend its cooperation in the information-sharing campaign.

Russia still has several dozen warplanes and batteries of air defense missiles at its base near Latakia, Syria.

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