WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, released the following statement Thursday after the Trump Administration informed him that the bombing of a Syrian airfield was underway:
“Tonight I was informed by the White House that the targeted bombing of a Syrian airfield was underway.
“These military strikes against Assad’s arsenal send a clear signal that the United States will stand up for internationally accepted norms and rules against the use of chemical weapons. The Joint Investigative Mechanism of the United Nations-Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has confirmed multiple times that Assad regime forces have used chemical weapons against the Syrian people.
“However, and I cannot emphasize this enough, any longer-term or larger military operation in Syria by the Trump Administration will need to be done in consultation with the Congress. Furthermore, it is the President’s responsibility to inform the legislative branch and the American people about his larger policy in Syria, as well as the legal basis for this action and any additional military activities in that country.
“Going forward, I will work with my colleagues in the Senate to have the Administration clearly articulate a comprehensive strategy for Syria that includes a plan for ending this war and removing Assad. He must be held accountable for his actions, along with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Russia and China have repeatedly blocked collective action through the UN Security Council. Inside Syria, Russia and Iran are complicit in Assad’s war crimes and crimes against humanity by their direct military intervention in support of his regime.
“The United States must lead the international community in a negotiated settlement that ends this war and facilitates Assad’s removal. This can only be done through a political process, not a military campaign.”