US Navy ships fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Shayrat airfield in Syria on April 7, in response to a sarin gas attack on civilian targets two days prior by Bashar al-Assad’s forces. The destroyers Ross and Porter launched the Tomahawks from their positions in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Army Gen. Joseph Votel, US Centcom commander, commended the “exceptional skill and professionalism” of the military personnel involved in the strike.
“We assessed that we achieved our stated objective, and the regime’s ability to generate offensive military capability from Shayrat airfield, which we assess was the launching point for this chemical attack, has been severely degraded,” said defense secretary Jim Mattis.
Mattis has issued a series of verbal warnings in the following days including a reminder that US forces “remain appropriately postured to respond as necessary” to further use of chemical weapons. “The Syrian regime should think long and hard before it again acts so recklessly in violation of international law against the use of chemical weapons,” said Mattis. Mattis and other officials have taken Russia to task for their ongoing support of Assad, arguing they are either colluding or incompetent in their stated commitment to rid the regime of chemical weapons.
Meanwhile, US and coalition military forces continue to carry out strikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria as part of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve.