"A deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria on April 4, 2017, and a U.S. military strike in response on April 6 have returned the conflict--now in its seventh year--to the forefront of international attention. In response to the April 4 attack, some Members of Congress called for the United States to conduct a punitive military operation. These Members and some others since have praised President Trump's decision to launch a limited strike, with some calling on the president to consult with Congress about Syria strategy. Other Members have questioned the president's authority to launch the strike in the absence of specific prior authorization from Congress. In the past, some in Congress have expressed concern about the international and domestic authorizations for such strikes, their potential unintended consequences, and the possibility of undesirable or unavoidable escalation. Since taking office in January 2017, President Trump has stated his intention to 'destroy' the Syria-and Iraq-based insurgent terrorist group known as the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIL, ISIS, or the Arabic acronym Da'esh), and the president has ordered actions to 'accelerate' U.S. military efforts against the group in both countries. U.S. officials and Members of Congress continue to debate how best to pursue U.S. regional security and counterterrorism goals in Syria without inadvertently strengthening U.S. adversaries or alienating U.S. partners. The Trump Administration and Members of the 115th Congress-like their predecessors-face challenges inherent to the simultaneous pursuit of U.S. nonproliferation, counterterrorism, civilian protection, and stabilization goals in a complex, evolving conflict."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33487
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html