- US launched 59 cruise missiles at Syrian airbase believed to be staging point of deadly gas attack
- President Trump confirmed authorizing strike
- He also called on int’l community to stop Syrian bloodshed
Days after scores of people in a northern Syrian town were killed in what was to be the worst chemical attack in years, the US launched dozens of Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian government-held airbase believed to be housing the aircraft which launched the deadly airstrike.
Two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers based in the Eastern Mediterranean — the USS Ross and USS Porter — launched the cruise missiles at Shayrat Airbase located in central Syria on Thursday evening.
A video of the strike was provided by the US Department of Defense.
“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,” Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said.
Davis added that initial reports indicated the success of the surprise 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,” he said.
In a conference, US President Donald Trump himself confirmed authorizing the strike in retaliation for the chemical attack which has been blamed on Syrian strongman Bashar Assad and his Russian-backed government.
“On Tuesday, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians. Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack,” he said.
Trump also called on the international community to help end the bloodshed in Syria.
“Tonight I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria, and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types,” he said.