Late last night the United States under the order of President Trump launched a total of 59 BGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM) at the al-Shayrat airbase near the Syrian city of Homs, just north of the capital city of Damascus. Al-Shayrat airbase which was under the Assad regimes control was named as the airbase that launched aircraft towards Idlib, Syria province earlier in the week. We can now confirm that the strike was in fact a chemical weapons strike and the Syrian military were the perpetrators of this act.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, along with his General Command of the Syrian Army called the cruise missile strike a “blatant [act of] aggression” towards the country of Syria and that up to 15 people were killed. Syrian Army leadership added that the strike caused “significant material damage,” also adding that; “This condemned American aggression confirms the continuation of the wrong American strategy and restricts the counter-terrorist operation that the Syrian army is conducting.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin along with his Russian military cabinet offered up a somewhat heart-felt statement of solidarity with its Syrian allies saying that: “an aggression against a sovereign state in violation of the norms of international law” executed “under a trumped-up pretext.” However information has come to light that the United States conducted what is known as a ‘battle-space deconfliction,’ just prior to the Tomahawks being let loose from their tubes from U.S. Navy destroyers parked in the Mediterranean Sea just off the coast Syria. Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Ignorances Konashenkov’s last parting shot at the cruise missile strike stated that the “combat effectiveness” of the airstrike was “very low.”
The US replied with Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis by making this statement:
“The strike was conducted using Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles, or TLAMs, launched from the destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, Davis said in his statement. A total of 59 TLAMs targeted aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and radars.”
Speculation and rumors of the Tomahawk strike are flying across the media and social media outlets. Initial video and picture evidence provided by Russian television news channels seemed to also feed into the narrative that this cruise missile strikes ‘combat effectiveness’ was in fact ‘very low’.
Another picture depicting what looks like “basketball sized” craters that is indicative of a cluster munition loaded Tomahawk variant, called the TLAM-D, which are used to shred aircraft, rendering them useless. Leaving more questions than answers.
However, a private geospatial analysis company, ImageSat International (ISI) has compiled one of the first truly definitive after actions battle damage assessment (BDA) report so far.
ISI uses very high-resolution satellite imagery was able to reveal the results of the Tomahawk cruise missiles attack on the Al-Shayrat Air Base. According to ISI experts, the total of 44 targets hit. Several targets may have hit twice. Photo and analysis of the attack were carried out within 10 hours of the attack. An in-depth examination of the damage to the objectives shows that 13 double hardened aircraft shelters (HAS) got 23 hits. 5 workshops got hit. The workshops are not necessarily related to WMD, but to aircraft and their ability to do maintenance and fly.
Ten ammunition storages got hit. Seven fuel reservoirs of the AFB got hit at two sites with eight hits total. Two locations remain untouched. One SA6 Battery utterly destroyed along with its radars and control systems. In total, five SA6 Battery elements hit. The results show that the target hits were accurate and that the Tomahawks have been used effectively against quality targets. Although 58 missiles hit the base, it seems that the overall damage to the base is limited because the warhead of the Tomahawk is not considered large and weighs about 450 kg.
This latest strike is being met with equal parts elation that the United States finally did something to quell the routine use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime on Syrian people, and equal parts rage that the Trump administration would dare invade Syria’s sovereignty, poke the Russian bear, and brazenly attack the misunderstood Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. Yet, from what ISI is analyzing is this was a highly surgical and extremely successful Tomahawk cruise missile strike conducted by the United States in answer to a heinous act.
Read the full ImageSat International(ISI) report here
Feature Image courtesy of YouTube