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Syrian airbase struck by US missiles: What's the damage?

Shayrat airbase before the airstrike [AFP]

Date of publication: 7 April, 2017

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A salvo of US cruise missiles have 'severely damaged' a Syrian regime airbase that was used as a launchpad for a devastating chemical attack on an opposition village in Idlib.
Fifty nine US cruise missiles struck a Syrian regime airbase in Homs province early Friday morning, which appears to have caused severe damage to the infamous military site.

Shayrat Airfield was allegedly the launch pad for a devastating chemical attack on an Idlib village that left up to a hundred civilians dead, including scores of women and children.

A potent symbol of regime oppression, the airfield has been used for countless air raids on civilian targets and the second largest airbase in Syria.

It now appears to be inoperable after sustaining severe damage from the Tomahawk cruise missiles launched by two US destroyers.

"All aircraft located there have been damaged, you can say it is completely destroyed," regime TV reported, while state news agency SANA said that six people were killed in the attack.

Pro-regime media have reported that 15 regime fighter planes were destroyed, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sukhoi-22s, Sukhoi-24s and MiG-23s were based there.
[click to enlarge]

Russia was given prior warning by the US, which likely prevented the killing of large numbers of air and ground crew but it appears some were caught by the missiles.

Dozens of regime personnel were reported killed or injured in the attack with damage to air defences, housing for officers and a fuel depot, according to the observatory.

Although it appears the airfield will no longer be used for more bombings by regime planes, the regime still has many options while Russia still maintains the huge Hmeimem airbase in Latakia.

The brief lull in regime bombing should still provide some relief for the civilians of Idlib.  

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