US-led missile strikes against the Syrian regime began at 9 p.m. EDT, following President Donald Trump’s announcement of a sustained response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s apparent chemical weapons attack in the country.
“This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very terrible regime,” Trump said on Friday.
“We and our allies find these atrocities inexcusable,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said at the Pentagon on Friday.
Unconfirmed footage and reporting from the ground in districts like the capital of Damascus paint a bleak picture of the aftermath of the US-led attack, with some accounts describing airports being “completely destroyed.” Air defense assets were reportedly being used to intercept the missiles, but based on the reports, several missiles have successfully struck their targets.
The US military struck targets that were “specifically associated” with Syria’s chemical weapons program while minimizing the risk to civilians, according to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford.
- The first target was a scientific research center in the greater Damascus area, where research, development, and production, and testing of chemical and biological “warfare technology” was being conducted.
- The second target was a chemical weapons storage facility deemed to be the primary location of Syrian sarin gas and pre-production equipment.
- The third target was a chemical equipment storage facility and an important command post.
“They will lose years of research and development data,” Dunford claimed.
Here’s how US-led military action against Syria is playing out on the ground: