Earlier this morning, the world held its collective breath as reports emerged of an unprecedented Western airstrike on Syrian soil, as American, British and French forces came together to launch the attacks. It came as a direct consequence of chemical attacks on the town of Douma back on April 7, and threatens to exacerbate tensions between Russia and the West as Vladimir Putin promised swift retribution.
All three leaders of the Western powers carrying out these attacks each took their turn in the wake of the airstrikes to not only confirm they occurred, but also to condemn the use of chemical weapons in any shape or form. UK Prime Minister Theresa May admitted there was "no alternative path" while French president Emmanuel Macron tweeted that a "red line has been crossed" by Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.
Somewhat curiously, however, beyond the official statement, US president Donald Trump had largely kept his counsel over the attacks. Prior to the airstrikes and in the wake of the chemical attacks last Saturday, Trump had been promising a retaliation on Twitter, calling Assad "a Gas Killing Animal".
But now, Trump has broken his silence, and made his first tweet since the airstrikes. Taking to his favoured social media sight earlier today, Donald Trump referred to the strikes as "perfectly executed", while also taking the time to congratulate America's allies and declaring "Mission accomplished" when it came to deterring chemical weapons.
In reply to this tweet, the much-maligned 45th President of the United States is under fire once more from the Twitter community, with many deciding to criticise the decision. "Looking to improve your poll numbers? You care little about Syrian people. Moron," said one, while another referred to an infamous speech by former President George W Bush, following an attack on Iraq in May 2003.
US General Joseph Dunford said that the focus of the airstrikes were chemical weapons facilities located in the city of Homs as well as capital city Damascus, and it remains to be seen how these airstrikes will affect the production of these weapons. One expected effect, however, seems to be retaliation from the Russian government.
In a statement following the bombings, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov promised in an official statement that preparations for "a pre-designed scenario" were already underway, and that by striking Syrian soil, the UK, France and America were being "insulting" to Vladimir Putin.
"A pre-designed scenario is being implemented. Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences. Insulting the President of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissible. The U.S. – the possessor of the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons – has no moral right to blame other countries."
In the wake of these attacks, Donald Trump seems in a confident and boisterous mood, but his mindset may not be one shared across the rest of the world. With Putin promising a response and tensions between America and Russia creeping towards Cold War levels, it's almost certain this won't be the end of the story when it comes to outside involvement in the Syrian conflict.