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Here’s how US Tomahawk missiles hit Syria air base after deadly chemical attack

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he 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.

world Updated: Apr 07, 2017 09:36 IST
US missile strike,Tomahawk missile,Syria gas attack
Shayrat Airfield in Homs, Syria is seen in this DigitalGlobe satellite image released by the US Defence Department on April 6 after announcing US forces conducted a cruise missile strike against the Syrian Air Force airfield.(Reuters/DigitalGlobe)

The United States fired cruise missiles into central Syria early Friday morning, striking an Assad government-controlled air base where US officials say the Syrian military launched a deadly chemical attack that killed dozens of civilians earlier this week.

Trump ordered the strikes just a day after he pointed the finger at Bashar al-Assad for this week’s chemical attack, which killed at least 70 people, many of them children, in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun. The Syrian government has denied it was behind the attack.

Here is the sequence of events related to the US missile strikes:

*About 60 US Tomahawk missiles hit the Shayrat air base, southeast of Homs, a small installation with two runways, where aircraft often take off to bomb targets in northern and central Syria.

*The US missiles hit at 3.45am Friday morning and target the base’s airstrips, hangars, control tower and ammunition areas.

*The missiles are fired from two warships in the Mediterranean Sea -- USS Ross and Porter -- in retaliation for Syria’s deadly chemical attack that officials said used chlorine mixed with a nerve agent, possibly sarin.

*Though the US targets some of Syria’s formidable air defences, it does not do so largely beyond al-Shayrat or in a sustained barrage, as it typically does before launching a concerted airpower campaign.

*The Pentagon says it attacked “aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and radars” at the airfield.

*Before the strikes, US informs its Russian counterparts of the impending attack. The goal is to avoid any accident involving Russian forces. The US also notifies its partner countries in the region prior to launching the strikes.

*Syrian state TV reports a US missile attack on a number of military targets and calls the attack an “aggression.”

First Published: Apr 07, 2017 09:01 IST