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  1. ITV Report

Donald Trump sends Congress letter explaining Syrian airstrikes

Donald Trump said he ordered the strike to 'degrade' and 'dissuade' the Syrian regime. Credit: AP
  • By Dominique Heckels, Washington Producer

US President Donald Trump has written to both chambers of Congress justifying his decision to launch airstrikes in Syria.

The surprise intervention - on only the 77th day of his presidency - saw US military forces in the Mediterranean Sea strike the Shayrat military airfield in the early hours of Friday morning.

The site was targeted because US intelligence indicated Syrian military forces operating from the airfield were responsible for the deadly chemical weapons attack on civilians in southern Idlib Province on Tuesday.

This satellite image shows a damage assessment of the Shayrat airbase strike. Credit: US Defence Department via AP

Mr Trump said he had ordered the firing of 59 tomahawk cruise missiles to "degrade" and "dissuade" the Syrian regime in the letter to the House of Representatives and the Senate.

"I directed this action in order to degrade the Syrian military’s ability to conduct further chemical weapon attacks and to dissuade the Syrian regime from using or proliferating chemical weapons, thereby promoting the stability of the region and averting a worsening of the region’s current humanitarian catastrophe," he wrote.

Below is the full copy of the letter:

Donald Trump's letter was sent to the leaders of both houses of Congress. Credit: The White House

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