Politicians and pundits from both sides of the aisle have celebrated the Trump administration's attack on the Syrian government—yet the strike effectively helped ISIS and endangered the Syrian civilians the U.S. claimed it was protecting.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration is hinting it will continue to ramp up U.S. military intervention in Syria, and may carry out even more attacks, potentially with regime change as the goal.
On April 7, the U.S. struck the Syrian government's Shayrat air base with 59 Tomahawk missiles. Some 20 Syrian planes were destroyed in the strike, roughly 20 percent of the government's air power, according to the Pentagon.
Extremist rebels such as the Salafi jihadist group Ahrar al-Sham, the largest opposition militia in Syria, applauded the Trump administration's attack, and called for more.
What is even more concerning was the impact of the U.S. strike on civilians. Syrian state media and the governor of Homs said the attack killed nine civilians, including four children, along with five soldiers. They also reported that 13 women and children were wounded in the strike, although these figures were not independently confirmed.
Los Angeles Times reporter Nabih Bulos interviewed inhabitants of the village of Shayrat, which is in central Syria, near the major city Homs. Locals said they were concerned the U.S. strike had helped ISIS. They had immediately begun fleeing, afraid the extremist group would try to take over.
“Women and children have already started to leave Shayrat to go to Homs city," resident Mohammad Zefa told Bulos. "We're not afraid of airstrikes. Our fear is the attack from the east," he said, in reference to ISIS.