US President Donald Trump launched a deadly US airstrike against a Syrian air base after a horrific nerve gas attack which killed more than 80 of his own citizens.
The US military fired 59 tomahawk missiles at the Bashar al-Assad controlled al-Shayrat military airfield near Homs at 8.45pm (EDT) on Thursday, killing at least five and injuring many more.
But the military action has already sparked a furious response from Vladimir Putin, who this morning called the airstrikes an ‘illegal act of aggression’. The Russian President, who has backed Assad militarily, warned of grave damage to relations between Washington and Moscow which are already ‘in tatters’.
President Trump, speaking from his Mar-a-Lago estate where he is hosting the Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng as part of a two day summit, said the US had to act after the Syrian dictator launched the ‘horrible chemical weapons attack’ on innocent civilians.
‘Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack,’ he said. ‘It was a slow and brutal death for so many.’
Pentagon officials said that the airfield was being used to store chemical weapons and was a base for Syrian air forces – including the aircraft that conducted the chemical weapons attack. Early reports indicate the strike has severely damaged or destroyed the aircraft and support infrastructure, while at least five people were killed.
A Syrian official claimed the attack killed three soldiers and two civilians, while a Syrian opposition monitor said it killed four soldiers, including a general. Talal Barazi, the governor of Homs province, said seven others were wounded in the early Friday attack.
The Pentagon has released dramatic footage of one of its missile launches from USS Ross, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, targeting the Syrian base.