Washington fires missiles at Assad airbase

Washington fires missiles at Assad airbase

US President Donald Trump said he has ordered targeted airstrikes on a Syrian airfield in response to the alleged chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib province.

The US leader said he the targeted airfield was the one from which a chemical attack was launched on Syrian civilians.

"It is in the vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the use of deadly chemical weapons. Tonight I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria," Trump stressed in a statement.

The NBC TV channel reported that the US military fired at least 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a military base of the Syrian government forces in Homs governorate in western Syria. The Tomahawk cruise missiles were intended for a single target - the Shayrat Airfield from which the US intelligence believes the alleged April 4 chemical attack had been carried out.

The Tomahawk missiles were launched from the USS Porter and USS Ross around 8:40 p.m. EDT, striking multiple targets - including the airstrip, aircraft and fuel stations - on the Shayrat Air Base, which the Pentagon says was used to store chemical weapons.

Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said that "Russian forces were notified in advance of the strike using the established deconfliction line." "US military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield," it said in a statement.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described the strike as 'proportional', because it was targeted at the facility that delivered this most recent chemical weapons attack. He said Russia bore responsibility for its handling of the 2013 deal that was supposed to remove Assad’s chemical weapons stockpile.

Tillerson said the US "co-ordinated very carefully" with its international partners around the world before launching the missiles. "I would tell you that the response from our allies, as well as the region and the Middle East, has been overwhelmingly supportive of the action we taken," he said to the White House press pool from Palm Beach.

The US missile strike against Syria’s facilities was an act of aggression and impairs both Russian-US relations and the key goal of fighting international terrorism, the Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said citing the opinion of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Peskov noted that the Syrian army has no stockpiles of chemical weapons. "The fact that all Syrian armed forces’ chemical weapons stockpiles were eliminated was registered and confirmed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), a specialized UN unit," TASS cited him as saying.

"Putin believes that the total disregard for the use of chemical weapons by terrorists only exacerbates the situation significantly. Putin also sees the strikes on Syria by the US as an attempt to divert the attention of the international community from numerous civilian casualties in Iraq," Peskov added.

"Washington’s move substantially impairs Russian-US relations, which are in a deplorable state as it is," Peskov emphasized.

"This step does not bring us closer to the ultimate goal in the fight against international terrorism. On the contrary, it creates serious obstacles to efforts in forging an international coalition to fight against it and effectively counter this global evil. By the way, US President Donald Trump proclaimed this as one of the key objectives during his election campaign," the Kremlin spokesman explained.

The governor of the Homs province Talal Barazi said that there are killed and wounded in the US strike against al-Shayrat military.

He added that the US missile strikes on a military airfield in Syria’s Homs province serve the goals of 'armed terrorist groups',

According to incoming data, the military base’s infrastructure has been almost completely destroyed by the attack and five Syrian military servicemen have been killed.