If U.S. President Donald Trump decides to take military action against the Syrian government in response to Saturday’s chemical weapons attack outside of Damascus, he would almost certainly have to approve a wider operation than the limited strikes he ordered just over a year ago.
“In order for the administration to actually inflict enough pain on the [Bashar al-]Assad government to send the signal that Trump wants, the U.S. would have to hit a wider package of targets,” says Nicholas Heras, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “That would essentially cripple Assad’s military capabilities.”
Given the ineffectiveness of previous one-off attacks, the U.S. military would also potentially need to engage in sustained airstrikes and publicly commit to targeting government facilities every time chemical weapons were used in the future.
Last year’s U.S. Tomahawk missile strike, carried out in response to a sarin gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, made headlines but did little to check the Syrian government’s willingness or ability to carry out further assaults.
Read the full article at Foreign Policy