Washington: US President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered missile strikes against a Syrian airfield from which a deadly chemical weapons attack was launched, declaring he acted in America’s “vital national security interest” against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The direct intervention came hours after President Trump said that the Syrian chemical weapons in rebel-held areas had “crossed many limits”.
This week’s chemical attack in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun had killed above 70 people. However, the Syrian government has denied it was behind the attack.
The missiles were launched from two Navy destroyers – the USS Ross and USS Porter – in the eastern Mediterranean. They struck an airbase called Shayrat in Homs province, which is the site from which the planes that conducted the chemical attack in Idlib are believed to have originated. The targets included air defenses, aircraft, hangars and fuel.
The military said initial indications were that the strike had “severely damaged or destroyed Syrian aircraft and support infrastructure.”
U.S. officials said the Russians, who maintain significant forces in Syria, were given advance warning of the strike.