Trump defends attack on Syria; demands 'end the slaughter.' See the app for all the latest developments

RNN - - The United States launched 59 missiles at a Syrian air base Thursday night after a chemical weapons attack.

Syrian military said that six were killed and several were wounded, according to the Associated Press.

Tomahawk missiles were fired from ships in the Mediterranean Sea around 8:40 p.m. Eastern time at the Al-Shayrat Airbase in central Syria.

The attack targeted the base's airstrips, hangars, control tower and ammunition areas, the AP reported.

President Donald Trump cast the United States assault on a Syrian air base as vital to deter future use of poison gas and called on other nations to join in seeking "to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria."

It was the first direct American assault on the Syrian government and Trump's most dramatic military order since becoming president just over two months ago. The strikes also risk thrusting the U.S. deeper into an intractable conflict that his predecessor spent years trying to avoid.

Announcing the assault from his Florida resort, Trump said there was no doubt Syrian President Bashar Assad was responsible for the chemical attack, which he said employed banned gases and killed dozens.

"Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children," Trump declared.

Trump ordered the strikes without approval from Congress or the backing of the United Nations.

U.S. officials said he had the right to use force to defend national interests and to protect civilians from atrocities.

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