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Norfolk-based Navy vessels play key role in strikes against Syrian targets

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) -- Three Norfolk-based Navy vessels played a crucial part in the airstrikes executed against Syrian targets early Saturday morning. 

According to Pentagon officials, USS Laboon, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS Monterey, a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser and the Virginia-class submarine USS John Warner, were all a part of the operation.  USS Higgins, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer based in San Diego, was also involved. 

The strike targeted Syrian regime’s chemical weapons infrastructure in retaliation to a suspected chemical weapons attack by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad on a Damascus suburb last week. Both the British and the French assisted in the strike.

Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White said, “We launched these strikes to limit Syria’s ability to use chemical weapons in the future."

The Pentagon reported that all targets were successfully hit including the Barzah center, which housed research, development and production of chemical weapons, a chemical weapons storage facility and a chemical bunker facility. 

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie said, “We selected these targets carefully to minimize the risk to innocent civilians."

McKenzie said 105 weapons were fired and the missiles came from British, French and American platforms in the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Eastern Mediterranean.

President Donald Trump announced the plan for this military action during a special report Friday night.

Following the announcement of the strike, many public officials voiced both support and condemnation of the decision. 

Senator Tim Kaine said, "President Trump’s decision to launch airstrikes against the Syrian government without Congress’s approval is illegal and – absent a broader strategy – it’s reckless."

"The President rightfully took action and announced airstrikes on Syria tonight, this in response to the gruesome deployment of internationally banned chemical weapons by the Assad regime against its people," said Congressman Scott Taylor in a post of his Facebook. 

10 On Your Side's Aesia Toliver spoke with Senator Tim Kaine. He said, "This president apparently feels like he can start a bombing campaign whenever he wants. Who's going to be next? Will it be Iran will it be North Korea?"

"Striking Syria that is a sovereign government, that is not at war with the united states without coming to Congress is illegal," Kaine continued. 

Kaine tells 10 On Your Side he's working with colleagues to craft a resolution to try to put some limitations on what the President can do in terms of making war without congressional authority.

10 On Your Side reached out to Republican lawmakers including Congressman Rob Wittman and Congressman Scott Taylor, but didn't hear back. 


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