Syrian airbase back in business

Syrian television and independent sources reported that Syrian jets took off from the base targeted by President Donald Trump, who ordered the strike against Bashar al-Assad Thursday night.

The US said 58 of the 59 cruise missiles fired at Shayrat hit the airfield, dealing heavy damage to the base, but the Russian defense ministry claimed that only 23 missiles landed on target.

Satellite footage showed many of the runways were fully intact, as well as several untouched surface-to-air rocket launcher and radar systems.

Less than 24 hours after the US strike, Syrian jets took off from the targeted base and bombed nearby rebel targets, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict via a network of contacts on the ground.

Syrian forces and its allies worked to repair the runway quickly, in order for warplanes to take-off of it, which came as a moral response to targeting the airbase with the American missiles.

Syria said eight people were killed by nearly 60 Tomahawk missiles fired at Shayrat air base in Homs province on orders from Trump. The death toll is expected to rise because some injured people are in critical situation.

Russia, a key ally of Syria that has been bombing rebel-held areas in support of President Bashar al-Assad since September 2015, condemned the strikes, saying Washington’s action was “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law.”

Iran, another Assad ally, strongly condemned the missile strikes against the Syrian army’s Shayrat air base and said such measures will strengthen terrorists and complicate the situation in the region.

Trump ordered the $45 million strike in response to what the Pentagon believes was a chemical weapons attack carried out by the Assad regime, which left 72 people dead.

Trump  said it was in America’s “vital national security interest” to strike in retaliation for a gas attack on a town in Idlib province that had been launched from there

The video shows the airfield in a northwestern Syrian province where the sarin gas attack is believed to have originated in ruins following the strike. The U.S. launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the airfield. Scorched aircraft hangars and debris are seen strewn across the airbase in the video.

Since protesters poured into the streets of Daraa, Damascus and Aleppo in a “day of rage” against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, the civil uprising turned into a global war and six years of violence have killed close to half a million people, displaced half of the country’s prewar population, allowed ISIS to seize territory, and created the worst humanitarian crisis in recent memory.

International diplomatic efforts have repeatedly failed to bring the protracted conflict closer to an end and the growing role of outside actors has changed the nature and trajectory of the war.

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