US fires dozens of Tomahawks at Syria military base near Homs, Trump cites ’Assad’s chem attack’
The US has launched 50 to 60 Tomahawk missiles against the Syrian military base near Homs after President Donald Trump ordered the strikes in response for the chemical attack in Idlib, blaming the incident on President Bashar Assad.
US ships stationed in the Mediterranean Sea reportedly launched the strike on Syria’s Shayrat airbase on Thursday night local time.
US President Donald Trump spoke from his Mar-a-Lago resort following the airstrikes, accusing Assad of using nerve gas that killed civilians in Idlib.
Calling it a “targeted military strike,” Trump said the Homs airfield was where the chemical gas attack earlier this week originated from.
Trump described the attack as defending a "vital national security interest" and called upon "civilized nations" to help end the "slaughter and bloodshed in Syria."
"There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the chemical weapons convention, and ignored the urging of the UN security council," Trump said.
"Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behaviour have all failed and failed very dramatically."
Fifty-nine US Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles were launched from the US warships USS Porter and USS Ross from the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said in a statement.
Davis added that "extraordinary measures" were taken "to avoid civilian casualties," and that "every precaution was taken" to minimize the "risk to personnel at the airfield."
The Pentagon has released photos of Tomahawk missiles, showing the moment they were being launched from the US warships in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea to Syria.
The governor of Homs province said American strike at the Syrian army installation was helping terrorist forces.
“Syrian leadership and Syrian policy will not change,” Talal Barazi said in a phone interview with state television, as cited by Reuters.
“This targeting was not the first and I don't believe it will be the last.”
Syria’s state SANA news agency cited a military source on the ground as confirming the strike and claiming that it resulted in casualties.
NBC News reported that there was no word on casualties and that no people were allegedly targeted. Russian forces were reportedly warned ahead of time.
The airfield was allegedly targeted after the US blamed the Syrian military for the chemical incident in Idlib, in which dozens of civilians died from suspected gas poisoning in the rebel-occupied territory.
Up to 86 people, including 26 children, are alleged to have been killed.
Several Western states have immediately pinned the blame on Assad’s forces, while Russia said Syrian jets bombed a warehouse where chemical weapons were being produced.
Video footage allegedly capturing the moment of the strike has emerged on social media, reportedly filmed by a resident near Shayrat airbase.
Repeated loud noises, allegedly from explosions, can be heard in the video and bright sparks are seen moving across the dark sky.
The UAE-based CEO of AlMasdar News, Leith Abou Fadel, reported on Twitter that the strike has resulted in no casualties among the Syrian or Russian military, adding that the missiles targeted the same area on the airfield.