The early morning coalition strikes on Syria’s chemical weapons infrastructure Saturday destroyed three critical targets, crippling the Syrian regime’s ability to create chemical weapons.
“We sent a very clear message last night,” Pentagon spokesman Dana White explained Saturday, further commenting, “We hope he [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] heard it.” Around 4 a.m. in Syria, American, British, and French naval and aviation assets opened fire on multiple targets associated with the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons program.
The three targets included the Barzah research and development center in Damascus, Him Shinshar chemical weapons storage facility near Homs, and the Him Shinsar chemical weapons bunker. Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. described the coalition strikes on these targets as “precise, overwhelming, and effective.” He added that coalition forces “delivered a very serious blow” to the “heart” of Syria’s chemical weapons program.
British, French, and American air and naval assets in the Red Sea, the North Arabian Gulf, and the Eastern Mediterranean hammered the above sites with more than one hundred missiles.
Located in the Red Sea, the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Monterey and Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Laboon fired more than a dozen Tomahawk missiles. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Higgins fired Tomahawk missiles from the North Arabian Gulf while a French frigate and the American Virginia-class submarine John Warner launched various missiles out of the Eastern Mediterranean.
From the air, B-1B Lancers fired 19 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSMs) while British Tornadoes and Typhoons launched multiple Storm Shadow missiles alongside French Rafales and Mirages firing off SCALP cruise missiles.
This multinational response reportedly “overwhelmed Syrian defenses,” which were primarily employed after the coalition strike had ended. “No Syrian weapon had any affect on anything we did,” McKenzie explained.
The Barzah research and development center was hit with 76 missiles, including 57 Tomahawks and 19 JASSMs. This site, a critical facility for the research, development, and production of chemical weapons, “does not exist anymore,” McKenzie revealed.
The Him Shinshar chemical weapons storage facility was struck by 22 missiles, including nine American Tomahawk missiles, eight storm shadows, three naval cruise missiles, and two SCALP missiles. The other Him Shinshar facility was hit by a total of seven SCALP missiles.
The U.S. is “still conducting a detailed damage assessment,” but officials believe the U.S. and its allies “accomplished our objectives,” Mckenzie told reporters.
“The use of chemical weapons anywhere in the world is an inexcusable violation of international law, and the United States will not tolerate it,” White stated clearly in her remarks at the Pentagon.