It has only taken around 36 hours for pictures of the aftermath of a U.S. cruise missile strike on a Syrian air base to be released to the public.
In the early morning hours of April 7 (Syrian time) 59 ship launched cruise missiles fell on Shayat Air Base, a joint Syrian-Russian location that has been linked to the April 4 gas attack on Syrians in Iblid.
The Daily Mail reports that according to “US intel, there were 12-100 personnel on the site that night” housed in barracks that were not targeted by the U.S. Russia has claimed that only 23 of the missiles reached their target. Authorities in Syria have stated that 7 of its soldiers were killed as well as “nine civilians, including four children.” If true, why children or civilians would be on a base at 3:45 a.m. remains to be explained.
The U.S. Defense Department has released before and after satellite images of the base that clearly show the destruction wrought by the bombardment.
The destroyed targets included aircraft shelters, ammunition bunkers, ‘workshops’, air defense sites, fuel depots and 20 Syrian jets. Strangely, the Daily Mail shows a picture of 5 undamaged jets left in the middle of an open field.
Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told reporters that “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.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the strike a deliberate act of aggression, while Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev asserted that relations between the former Cold War rivals were ‘completely ruined’.
In response, the Russians have ordered a warship to enter the eastern Mediterranean and have promised to ship more anti-air systems to Syria.