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U.S. strike on Syria raises moral questions about civilian security


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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. cruise missile strike on a Syrian air base days after chemical weapons were dropped on civilians in rebel-controlled territory further endangers innocent people, observers familiar with the just-war theory said.

If anything, the observers told Catholic News Service, the unilateral U.S. response could embolden Syrian President Bashar Assad to undertake future attacks, exposing more lives to harm -- including those of people fleeing the violence.

The U.S. strike early April 7 on the Shayrat airfield came three days after chemical weapons were dropped in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province. The attack claimed more than 80 lives, including dozens of children.

President Donald Trump has cited the deaths of the children in particular in condemning the attack prior to the retaliatory strike.

The Pentagon reported that 23 of 59 missiles launched from warships in the eastern Mediterranean Sea struck the air base. Military leaders were unsure of the status of the remaining 36 missiles.

SANA, the Syrian state news agency, said 15 people died during the U.S. attack and that nine of the dead, including four children, were civilians.

Overall, the six-year civil war has claimed as many as 470,000 lives according to various humanitarian agencies. An estimated 4.8 million people have been displaced with many fleeing the country altogether.

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