By Abigail Roberts | Contributor
On April 14, the U.S., U.K. and France carried out missile strikes on three sites associated with the Syrian regime's chemical weapons program. This move was in response to the recent chemical attack in Douma, Syria, a week earlier in which at least 70 were killed.
"This is about humanity, and it cannot be allowed to happen," President Donald Trump said to NPR in response to Assad's use of chemical weapons.
However, in the international strike, there were no Syrian military personnel casualties nor any serious damage to Syrian military infrastructure. And both Russia and the Assad regime continue to deny the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war.
This international response proves now more than ever that behind every military attack there is a political motive.
The Guardian wrote, "The weekend's bombing was less a message than a gesture - and a gesture that fails in its effect sends the opposite message to that intended."
Since March 19, 2013, to the recent attack on April 7, 2018, the Assad regime has carried out dozens of chemical weapon attacks against Syrian rebel groups and civilians. Phosphorus bombs, chlorine gas bombs, mustard gas and sarin gas have killed hundreds and left thousands injured.
Last year, the U.S. bombed Syria in response to a chemical attack in Khan Sheikhun, Syria. Similar to the attack this last week, the U.S. government called it a statement against the Assad Regime's use of chemical weapons. As we can see, Assad was not deterred.
The U.S. attacks in Syria stand as political statements. Defense Secretary James Mattis has stated repeatedly that the U.S. will not engage in the civil war itself. The attacks are large enough to make the news and promote U.S. international relations, but not so large that they would provoke Russia, who continues to back the Syrian regime.
The international community must realize that the issue is not the use of chemical weapons. Out of the half million people killed in the Syrian conflict (United Nations Statistics) the percentage of those killed by chemical weapons lies in the hundreds. The issue is that innocent civilians are being displaced and killed while the world stands by and watches. It does not differ whether they are being killed and displaced by phosphorus gas or barrel bombs.
So far this year, the U.S. has let in 11 Syrian refugees this year, compared to 15,479 in 2016 and 3,024 in 2017.
In light of the recent strike, I thank the Trump administration, the U.K. and France for doing something, but it is not enough.