The United States has launched dozens of Tomahawk missiles on a military base in Syria, in what it says is a retaliation for the regime of Bashar Assad using nerve agents to attack his own people, that had occurred a few days earlier.
The attack has been ordered by the U.S. president, Donald Trump, on Al-Shayrat Air Base, the base from which the alleged chemical attack on Syria’s Idlib province was reportedly launched on April 4th.
“It is in the vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons,” Donald Trump said.
The US Navy Ships USS Porter and USS Ross, currently positioned in the Eastern Mediterranean, launched 59 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) on Syria on Friday morning.
Responding to the news, Russian president Vladimir Putin has deemed the strike against Syria’s facilities an aggression which also impairs both the Russian-US relations and the common fight against terrorism, Russian TASS has reported.
“President Putin considers the US strikes against Syria an aggression against a sovereign country violating the norms of international law, and under a trumped-up pretext at that,” said Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov to TASS.
Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike…… pic.twitter.com/3nUzrdiGzX
— President Trump (@POTUS) April 7, 2017
Here is a full statement by the Pentagon regarding the strike:
At the direction of the president, U.S. forces conducted a cruise missile strike against a Syrian Air Force airfield today at about 8:40 p.m. EDT (4:40 a.m., April 7, in Syria). The strike targeted Shayrat Airfield in Homs governorate, and was in response to the Syrian government’s chemical weapons attack April 4 in Khan Sheikhoun, which killed or injured hundreds of innocent Syrian people, including women and children.
The strike was conducted using Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) launched from the destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. A total of 59 TLAMs targeted aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and radars. As always, the U.S. took extraordinary measures to avoid civilian casualties and to comply with the Law of Armed Conflict. Every precaution was taken to execute this strike with minimal risk to personnel at the airfield.
The strike was a proportional response to Assad’s heinous act. Shayrat Airfield was used to store chemical weapons and Syrian air forces. The U.S. intelligence community assesses that aircraft from Shayrat conducted the chemical weapons attack on April 4. The strike was intended to deter the regime from using chemical weapons again.
Russian forces were notified in advance of the strike using the established deconfliction line. U.S. military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield.
We are assessing the results of the strike. Initial indications are that this strike has severely damaged or destroyed Syrian aircraft and support infrastructure and equipment at Shayrat Airfield, reducing the Syrian Government’s ability to deliver chemical weapons. The use of chemical weapons against innocent people will not be tolerated.
The U.S. Navy has shared several videos showing the missiles being launched as part of the attack on the military base in Syria. Read more here: http://navaltoday.com/2017/04/07/video-strike-operations-on-syria/
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which obtained info “from several reliable sources” the Shayrat airbase located about 25 km southeast Homs city was destroyed almost entirely by the US missile strikes.
The sources reportedly confirmed to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that tens of members and officers of the regime forces were killed and injured in the US missile strikes on Shayrat airbase, which includes hangars of warplanes, a battalion of air defense, housing for officers and a fuel depot, and within the total human losses there are at least 4 members who were confirmed killed, including a brigadier officer in the ranks of the regime forces and he is a brigade commander in the air defense.
“No chemical weapons used”
Worth noting, the Assad regime has denied committing the chemical attack it has been accused of.
Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem on Thursday said that the Syrian Arab Army “didn’t and will not use any kind of chemical weapons even against the terrorists who target the Syrian people.”
He said the Syrian Army’s attack said that “the campaign” of accusing the Syrian army of using chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun started at 06:00 am, while the first air raid carried out by the Syrian army was at 11:30 am of the same day targeting an ammunition store of Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists that included chemical weapons.
“This choir that was launched in the international arena is made up of states that are well-known for conspiring against Syria,” said al-Moallem.
“I reiterate that the Syrian Arab Army has never used and will never use this type of weapons, not only not against our people and our children, but even not against the terrorists who are killing our people and our children and attacking civilians in the cities with their random shells,” al-Moallem said on Thursday, a day before the U.S. attack.
Violation of international laws
The Assad-controlled General Command of the Army and the Armed Forces condemned the U.S. attack, saying it stresses the continued wrong strategy of the US and undermines the operation of fighting terrorism carried out by the Syrian Arab Army, sana.sy reports.
The attack, the statement added, makes the United States of America a “partner” of ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist organizations that have sought since day one of the unfair war on Syria to attack points of the Syrian army and the Syrian military bases.
The Syrian Army’s Command said the US’s attempt to justify this aggression by saying that it is in response to the Syrian army’s use of chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun town in Idleb without yet determining the reality of and the perpetrators behind what happened there “sends wrong messages to the terrorist organizations that would embolden them further to use chemical weapons in the future every time they suffer heavy losses in the battlefield.”
This act of aggression, the Command stressed, sana.sy reported, violates all international laws and conventions and aims at affecting the capabilities of the Syrian army in its fight against terrorism.
Russia has condemned the U.S. military action against the Syrian Army on Friday, saying the attack was irresponsible, damaging to the Russia-US relations, and violated international laws. Read more here.
More to follow…