Secretary of Defense: US Attack Destroyed 20% of Syria’s Air Capacity

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Tomahawk cruise missile

The US cruise missile strike at Shayrat’s Syrian air base on Friday destroyed about 20 percent of the Syrian government’s operating airspace, Defense Secretary James Mattis said in a statement Monday.

“The Syrian government has lost the ability to refuel or rearm its aircraft at the Shayrat airfield,” Mattis said, describing the attack as a “measured response.”

The updated assessment was released after US President Donald Trump asked Mattis to give more information on the magnitude of damages at the air base, according to an administration official.

US forces fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at the Syrian air base in response to the chemical attack in Idlib province, killing more than 80 people, including several children.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been blamed for the gas attack, but the Syrian army rejected any responsibility.

US officials originally said that 58 of the 59 missiles fired on Friday had “seriously degraded or destroyed” its original target, including 20 aircraft of the type US authorities say carried out the chemical attack. On Friday, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that only 23 of the US missiles arrived at the airbase, destroying only six MiG-23s.

Military flights from Shayrat air base resumed over the weekend, according to two Syrian state media and an opposition group.


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