Apr 8, 2017

Updates to the airstrikes in Syria

U.S. Department of Defense / AP

President Trump's airstrikes in Syria in response to Tuesday's chemical weapons attack will continue to have political repercussions. Here's the latest on that situation:

  • New airstrikes on Saturday hit the same Syrian town that was targeted in the chemical weapons attack earlier in the week.
  • President Trump sent a letter to Congress, which was delivered Saturday, justifying the strikes.
"I acted in the vital national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive. The United States will take additional action, as necessary and appropriate, to further its important national interests."
  • North Korea called the airstrikes an "unforgivable act of aggression," per Reuters.
  • Boris Johnston, the UK's foreign secretary, canceled his Saturday trip to Moscow just hours before he was supposed to fly there. "Developments in Syria have changed the situation fundamentally...We deplore Russia's continued defence of the Assad regime," Johnson said in a statement.
  • The Pentagon released satellite images of the damage from the airstrikes at the Shayrat base, including destroyed and damaged aircraft shelters.
  • Ivanka tweeted in support of the decision: "The times we are living in call for difficult decisions - Proud of my father for refusing to accept these horrendous crimes against humanity"
  • Tillerson was already scheduled to travel to Moscow next week before the strikes happened, and a senior aide confirmed to ABC News that he will still make the trip and he will discuss Assad while there.
  • The Global Coalition to Counter ISIS carried out 14 missile strikes against the Islamic State near Raqqa in Syria just 14 hours after Trump's airstrikes on Thursday night. That strike reportedly killed 15 civilians, including four children.

Go deeper

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.

George Floyd updates

Thousands of protesters march over the Brooklyn Bridge on June 4 in New York City. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

All four former Minneapolis police officers have been charged for George Floyd’s death and are in custody, including Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, who were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

The latest: Civil rights groups filed a lawsuit Thursday against President Trump, Attorney General Bill Barr and other federal officials on behalf of Black Lives Matter and other peaceful protesters who were forcibly removed with rubber bullets and chemical irritants before Trump's photo-op at the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church on Monday.

The long journey to herd immunity

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The sought-after state of herd immunity — in which widespread outbreaks are prevented because enough people in a community are immune to a disease — is complicated by open questions about the effectiveness of a future vaccine and how COVID-19 spreads.

Why it matters: Unless a sufficient level of immunity is achieved in the population, the coronavirus could circulate indefinitely and potentially flare up as future outbreaks.