Trump says airstrikes on Syria underway

Posted: Updated:

9 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the United States has "launched precision strikes" on targets associated with Syrian chemical weapons program.

Trump spoke from the White House Friday night. He says a "combined operation" with France and the United Kingdom is underway.

Trump says that last Saturday, Syrian President Bashar Assad deployed chemical weapons in what was a "significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very terrible regime."

8:55 p.m.

President Donald Trump is set to address the nation Friday night amid anticipation of a retaliatory strike for an apparent Syrian chemical weapon attack last week.

That's according to a source familiar with the president's plans, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Trump has said he will hold the Syrian government, as well as its Russian and Iranian allies, accountable for the suspected attack.

White House spokesman Raj Shah said Friday afternoon that Trump "is going to hold the Syrian government accountable. He's also going to hold the Russians and the Iranians who are propping up this regime responsible."

5 p.m.

The U.S. Navy was moving an additional Tomahawk missile-armed ship within striking range of Syria as President Donald Trump and his national security aides mulled the scope and timing of an expected military assault in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack.

Trump's U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, said the president had not yet made a final decision, two days after he tweeted that Russia should "get ready" because a missile attack "will be coming" at Moscow's chief Middle East ally.

The presence of Russian troops and air defenses in Syria were among numerous complications weighing on Trump, who must also consider the dangers to roughly 2,000 American troops in the country if Russia were to retaliate for U.S. strikes.

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