Syrian air base reopens less than 24 hours after U.S. missile strike

The Syrian air base struck by dozens of U.S. Tomahawk missiles this week in retaliation for a nerve gas attack on civilians is back in business.

New Syrian airstrikes launched Saturday from Shayrat killed one woman and wounded several others in Khan Sheikhoun, eyewitnesses told The Washington Post. That's the same town where the gas attack took place earlier this week, killing 86 people, including dozens of children.

“Those attacks did not reduce the regime’s ability to kill civilians. They can still commit massacres at any time,” Abdulrzzak Khattab, a resident who said his house was damaged in Saturday’s attack, told the Post.

Shayrat is the home base for war planes that carried out Tuesday's gas attack that prompted the U.S. missile launch.

A Syrian human rights group reported Friday that Sukhoi warplanes were seen taking off from Shayrat. The planes carried out strikes on areas the Syrian government claims is controlled by the Islamic State in the eastern countryside of Homs.

"Sources confirmed ... that the regime and its allied forces have worked to re-repair the runway quickly, in order for these warplanes to take-off of it" the London-based Syrian Observatory reported.

The new airstrikes come less than 24 hours after 59 missiles launched from the USS Ross and USS Porter slammed into the military installation. The Syrian military said at least 9 people were killed and several more wounded by those missiles.

Ret. Maj Gen. James "Spider" Marks told CNN Saturday he wasn't surprised by the base's reopening because Tomahawks are not equipped to carry large payloads of explosives.

"The Tomahawk is not a weapons system to crater a runway and render that runway inoperable," said Marks, executive dean of the College of Criminal Justice and Security for the University of Phoenix. "But if the United States had chosen to do that — and certainly we've got the capabilities to crater runways — it's very easy to fill those holes back in and make a runway usable in very little time."

The U.S. missiles struck early Friday morning in Syria, targeting the Shayrat's airstrips, hangars, control tower and ammunition areas. Putin condemned the U.S. missile strikes on Syria as an "act of aggression against a sovereign country" that harms U.S.-Russian relations as well as the goal of fighting international terrorism, his spokesman said Friday.

President Trump said he ordered the strikes in retaliation for a nerve gas attack by Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province.

Trump tweeted his appreciation Saturday:

 


 

 

© 2017 USA TODAY


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