Military used 59 Tomahawk missiles from two destroyers in the Mediterranean Sea.
The U.S. military attacked the Shayrat air base near Homs with 59 Tomahawk missiles from the Mediterranean Sea, which caused immense damage “to airfields, planes and fueling facilities allegedly used by the Assad regime.”
Axios has reported that 19 people died at the air base. Syrian officials also stated that “9 people, all civilians, died when 3 missiles struck 2 towns near the air base.”
From Fox News:
“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,” Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said, according to Reuters.
Davis said the U.S. was still assessing the result of the 59 Tomahawks it fired, expressing hope that Assad’s government learned a lesson. He said it was ultimately “the regime’s choice” if more U.S. military action would be needed.
Fox News is told the missiles were the Tomahawk “E” or Echo version. It is the latest model and has two-way satellite communication allowing the missile to be reprogrammed in flight if needed. The missiles can carry 1,000-pound warheads.
The U.S. did notify “both Russia and Syria about the airstrikes hours before they launched.” Our officials have also started an investigation into “whether Russia was involved in the chemical weapons attack, military officials told AP.”
Syria lashed out against the strike:
Bashar Jaafari, Syria’s ambassador to the UN, accuses the US of a “barbaric and flagrant act” that violates international law.
The strikes on a military airfield, he says, lead to “a number of martyrs, including women and children, and wide-ranging material damage”. It remains unclear what damage or casualties were caused by the strikes: the White House has said all 59 missiles hit their targets, while Russian authorities have claimed that fewer than half did.
Nevertheless Jaafari says: “This treacherous act of aggression is a grave violation of the charter of the United Nations as well as all international laws and norms.”
Russia, Assad’s strongest ally, condemned the airstrike and decided to suspend “an agreement to minimize the risk pof in-flight incidents between U.S. and Russian aircraft operating over Syria.” From Axios:
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian state-run news agency Sputnik that president Putin regards the attacks on Syria as “an aggression against a sovereign state in violation of the norms of international law, and under a trumped-up pretext at that.” He added that the move “substantially damages Russian-U.S. relations, which are already in a deplorable state.”
Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev also stated that the “U.S. missile strike violated not only international, but also U.S. laws,” adding that the attack “was on the brink of military clashes with Russia.” However former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, tweeted that choosing the PM to make the statement shows that Russia isn’t as furious about the strike as they may seem. “Let me know when Putin says something serious,” he wrote.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told the security council that the country is “prepared to do more but we hope that is not necessary.” From The Guardian:
Haley says that changed with the US strike. “When the international community fails in its duty to act collectively there are times when states are compelled to take their own action.”
The use of chemical weapons against civilians is “one of those times”, she says, and the cause for which “our military destroyed the airfield from which this week’s chemical strikes took place”.
“We were fully justified in doing so. The moral stain of the Assad regime could no longer go unanswered. “His crimes against humanity could no longer be met with empty words.”
“Bashar al-Assad must never use chemical weapons again, ever.”
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