U.S. launches missile strike on Syria after gas attack

U.S. launches missile strike on Syria after gas attack

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US warships launch 59 cruise missile strike against Assad airfield following chemical attack

The U.S. launched cruise missiles against Syria Friday, a day after President Trump said a chemical weapons attack that killed at least 80 and “crossed many, many” lines.

It was the first direct American assault on the Syrian government since that country’s civil war began six years ago and Donald Trump’s most dramatic military order since becoming president.

The U.S. military launched 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian military airfield controlled by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The strikes hit the government-controlled Shayrat air base in central Syria, where U.S. officials say the Syrian military planes that dropped the chemicals had taken off. The U.S. missiles hit at 8:45 p.m. in Washington, early morning Friday in Syria.

The strike was “a proportional response to Assad’s heinous act,” the Pentagon spokesman said, noting that Shayrat Airfield was used to store chemical weapons and Syrian air forces.

According to Pentagon, the Russians were informed ahead of strike:

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.

The strike came as Trump was hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping in meetings focused in part on another pressing security issue: North Korea’s nuclear program.

Details of Syria Strike

About 59 Tomahawk missiles were launched from US Navy warships in the Mediterranean Sea, a US official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. A target was identified as an airbase in Homs.

The strike was conducted using Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles, or TLAMs, launched from the destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, Davis said in his statement. A total of 59 TLAMs targeted aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and radars.

“As always,” Davis said, “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.”

Syria calls the attack blatant aggression

The chief of the General Staff of the Syrian Army, General Ali Ayyoub, said Washington has used the chemical attack in the northern town of Khan Sheikhoun earlier this week as a “pretext” to carry out the “blatant aggression”, without knowing what really happened. Syria blames the opposition fighters of stockpiling chemical weapons.

Russia calls the attack aggression against a sovereign state

Putin called the US strike an “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law,” the Associated Press reports.

A spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin called the US strikes “aggression” and accused Trump of acting “under an invented pretext,” according to the Interfax news agency.

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