Rep. Will Hurd praised the U.S.-led strike on Syria Saturday — but said President Donald Trump can only declare "mission accomplished" when President Bashar al-Assad is out of power.
"Until Bashar al-Assad leaves, I would say the broader goals in the region have not been accomplished," the Texas Republican, who worked in Afghanistan and India for the CIA, told Wolf Blitzer on CNN.
"The attacks last night, hundred-plus missiles, were successful in hitting their targets and doing the damage.
"We still have a civil war going on in Syria," Hurd continued. "You still have Bashar al-Assad in power, being able to kill many of his own countrymen."
Trump declared "Mission Accomplished!" on Twitter Saturday — lauding the "perfectly executed strike" by U.S., French and British forces in response to an April 7 chlorine gas attack that killed as many as 70 people and injured 1,000 others.
Pentagon officials said that 105 allied missiles struck three targets where Assad's regime either developed, tested or stored chemical weapons.
"Not only are the Syrians scratching their head about maybe we aren't as protected as we think we are, but Russians are doing that as well," Hurd told Blitzer.
"That alone changes the calculation.
"Did we get rid of all of it?" he asked, referring to Assad's chemical arsenal. "No.
"I think Assad knows that if he uses chemical weapons, he can see an escalation of what we saw last night —since it was a significant escalation from a year ago."
In April 2017, U.S. forces fired 58 missiles — destroying in part about 20 percent of Assad's air force — in response for a sarin gas attack that killed 53 people.
Hurd called on Iran and Russia to "push Assad to participate in the Geneva process.
"This is already a U.N.-established process to solve this civil war — and I believe Assad must go."
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