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By Saagar Enjeti
The Pentagon released a map Thursday that reportedly shows the flight pattern of a Syrian aircraft that dropped chemical weapons on civilians Tuesday.
The map was released hours after President Donald Trump ordered the U.S. military to fire 59 Tomahawk missiles at a northern Syrian airbase, in retaliation for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s attack.
“We have a very high level of confidence that the attacks were carried out by aircraft under the direction of the Bashar al-Assad regime, and we also have very high confidence that the attacks involved the use of sarin nerve gas,” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters Thursday.
National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster similarly told reporters “our intelligence community in cooperation with our friends and partners and allies around the world collaborated to determine with a very high degree of confidence precisely where the location originated. And then, of course, the sorts of chemicals that were used in the attack.”
McMaster clarified that the strike will not cripple Assad’s ability to use chemical weapons and is instead is meant to send a deterrent message.
“The regime will maintain the certain capacity to commit mass murder with chemical weapons, we think, beyond this particular airfield. But it was aimed at this particular airfield for a reason, because we could trace this murderous attack back to that facility,” he continued.
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