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The United States Department of Defence released a statement offering details of the US attack on a Syrian airbase.

The strike, which was launched in retaliation to the recent Syrian gas attack, saw two US Navy ships fire 59 Tomahawk missiles targeting the Al Shayrat Airfield.

The strike, the US said, was intended to deter gas attacks like the one that happened on April 4, with Reuters quoting an unnamed US official to report that the strike was a “one-off.”

The US and other western countries have blamed Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime for the gas attack, in which dozens of people, including several children, died.

Syria, meanwhile, has denied the charge, with Russia, which backs Assad, instead choosing to blame Syrian rebels.

  1. The strike was launched at 6.10 am IST, or at 4.40 am Syrian time. The strike, which hit the Al Shayrat airfield in Syria, continued for around three to four minutes. US President Donald Trump as well as the Pentagon said the strike was intended to deter gas attacks like the one that took place this week in Syria.
  2. The US used the Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles, or TLAMs, to launch the attack. Two US Navy destroyers – USS Porter and USS Ross – fired the missiles from the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
  3. The Pentagon reveal that a total of 59 Tomahawk missiles were used to target aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defence systems, and radars at the Al Shayrat airfield, which is controlled by the Assad regime.
  4. A Pentagon official said that the US, “as always” 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,” Navy Capt. Jeff Davis added.
  5. Davis further noted that the Al Shayrat airbase that was targeted was used to store chemical weapons and Syrian air forces. According to US intelligence, the airbase was used to launch the April 4 Syrian chemical weapons attack, which provoked worldwide shock and outrage.
  6. Notably, the Pentagon said that Russian forces, which operate in Syria, were notified about the US strike in advance. The planners of the strike took precautions to minimise risk to Russian or Syrian personnel at the airfield, the US Defence Department reiterated.
  7. “We are assessing the results of the strike,” Davis said. “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.
  8. The Syrian government responded to the strike calling it an act of aggression and also saying that deaths have been resulted as a result of the US strike and that the airbase that was targeted was being used to fight the Islamic State in Syria. The Syrian National Coalition, meanwhile, expressed hopes that the strikes would continue in order to stop Syrian govt air strikes and “use of internationally banned weapons”.