Initial damage assessments show President Donald Trump’s strike on an airbase in Syria Thursday likely destroyed the facility.
Syrian government aircraft from the al-Shayrat airfield are reportedly responsible for Tuesday’s chemical weapons attack on a town in Syria’s Idlib province, which left approximately 72 people dead and possibly hundreds more injured. Two U.S. Navy destroyers located in the Mediterranean Sea launched a total of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the air base Thursday.
“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,” said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, the Pentagon spokesman, in a statement Thursday night. “The use of chemical weapons against innocent people will not be tolerated.”
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Each Tomahawk missile carries a 1,000-pound warhead, meaning 59,000 pounds of ordnance was dropped on the airfield.
Davis noted that the strike was a “proportional response to Assad’s heinous act.”
Russian forces were notified in advance of the strike using a special communications line designed to prevent the U.S. and Russia from accidentally striking one another’s forces in Syria.
“U.S. military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield,” said Davis.
It is unclear whether or not the Trump administration plans to engage in further strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.