US missile strikes against Syria increase tensions with Russia
Tensions have risen between Russia and America following the US missile strikes on an air base in Syria in response to the Syrian Government's chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun.
The strikes against Shayrat Airfield in Homs Governorate were ordered by US President Donald Trump.
Prior to launching the strikes, Trump said: “Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched.
“It is in this vital national security interest of the US to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. 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.”
On Trump's orders, US Navy destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross fired 59 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles at a Syrian Air Force airfield.
The missiles targeted aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defence systems, and radars, according to the US Department of Defense (DoD).
US DoD spokesman captain Jeff Davis said: “We are assessing the results of the strike. Initial indications are that this strike has severely damaged or destroyed Syrian aircraft, support infrastructure and equipment at Shayrat Airfield, reducing the Syrian Government's ability to deliver chemical weapons.
“The use of chemical weapons against innocent people will not be tolerated.”
The US believes that Shayrat Airfield was used to store chemical weapons.
According to the US intelligence community, aircraft from Shayrat conducted the chemical weapons attack on 4 April this year, killing hundreds of civilians in Syria, including women and children.
Russia and Iran have threatened to retaliate against the US if it launches any further strikes.