United States: 59 missiles on a Syrian base in response to Idlib gas attack
Shayrat airbase targeted, the base for jets that took part in the raid with chemical weapons over Idlib. Deaths and injuriesThe soldiers stationed at this base had liberated Palmyra. The Pentagon warned Russia before the attack. Tillerson: No role for Assad in Syria.
Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At 4:40 this morning the United States launched a hail of 59 Tomahawk missiles against a Syrian military base in Shayrat, near Homs. The attack - in the words of President Donald Trump - was in response to the bombing with chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhun, near Idlib three days ago. The chemical weapons attack led to the death of at least 86 people, of whom 27 children.
The Pentagon said it had informed Russia - an ally of Assad - before launching the attack against Shayrat. The missiles were launched by two Navy destroyers, the Porter and Ross, based in the eastern Mediterranean and hit planes, warehouses, ammunition bunkers, air defense and radar systems.
The US decision to attack came before any inquiry into the responsibility for the bombing Idlib. Yesterday, the UN Security Council did not reach an agreement and was due to meet again today. The Russians, who have blocked a motion by the US, France and Britain, argue that Syrian planes struck a rebel chemicals storage / factory.
Speaking from his villa at Mar-a-Lago (Florida), Trump branded Syrian President Bashar Assad a "dictator" who has "launched a horrible chemical attack on innocent civilians".
Trump also called "all civilized nations to unite in seeking to end the bloodshed and carnage in Syria, also to eliminate terrorism of all kinds." In addition, the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that now "there is no role for Assad in Syria."
These statements are a complete u-turn in US policies. Previously Trump seemed spoke of the Syrian president as an ally against terrorism of the Islamic State and the US ambassador to the UN had said that Assad's removal was no longer "a priority".
Syrian television spoke of an "American aggression" that struck a Syrian base, without giving too much detail. The governor of Homs Talal Barazi said that "there are many martyrs and we do not know the number or martyrs or wounded." Many areas of the base are on fire and the wounded are being treated for severe burns. He recalled that the forces present in the base were "important support" in the battle against the Islamic State for Palmyra.