Following several missile strikes on Syrian chemical weapons facilities Friday night, President Donald Trump declared “mission accomplished” as the Pentagon confirmed that every missile hit its intended target, The Hill reported.
Although Syrian state TV claimed that 13 U.S. Tomahawk missiles were shot down during the strike, Defense Department chief spokeswoman Dana White indicated otherwise.
“Last night’s operations were successful. We met all of our objectives, we hit all of our targets successfully,” White told reporters at the Pentagon. “No allied aircrafts were engaged. It was a successful mission.”
French and British forces joined the United States to launch over 100 missiles at various targets in the Syrian capital of Damascus and in the northern city of Homs, in retaliation for a chemical attack last weekend that that killed over 40 Syrians.
White said that the missile strikes severely hurt Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s ability to continue producing chemical weapons.
“The strikes went to the very heart of the enterprise, to research to the development, to storage. So we are very confident that we have significantly crippled Assad’s ability to produce these weapons,” she said.
During a late-night Pentagon briefing, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that “a little over double” the number of weapons were used to strike Syria than what were used to strike Syria in April of last year.
“Clearly, the Syrian regime did not get the message last year,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.
“This time our allies and we have struck harder. Together we have sent a clear message to Assad and his murderous lieutenants that they should not perpetrate another chemical weapons attack for which they will be held accountable.”
— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) April 14, 2018
Director of the Joint Staff Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. called the attacks “precise, overwhelming and effective” in their goal to prevent further chemical weapons attacks.
“All weapons hit their targets at very close to the designated time on target of about 4 a.m. in Syria,” McKenzie said. “These attacks on multiple axis were able to overwhelm the Syrian air defense system.”
Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov threatened retaliation for the missile strikes.
“A pre-designed scenario is being implemented,” Antonov said on Twitter, according to Al Jazeera. “Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences.”
Defense Spokesman White reiterated Friday that in spite of the missile strikes, the United State’s objective in Syria continues to be defeating ISIS.
“Our focus remains defeating ISIS,” she said. “It is not to get involved in the Syrian civil war.”
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