US strike on Syrian air base has limited impact on Assad

Syria calls strike 'American aggression'

Rebel factions in Syria have welcomed the USA missile strike on an air base in Syria's central province of Homs, a media report said on Friday. It says the Syrian government launched the attack from the Shayrat air base.

The Russian Defense Ministry added that the missile strike destroyed a material storage depot, training facility, cafeteria, six MiG-23 aircraft in fix hangars and one radar station.

"We took precautions in more than one military point, including in the Shayrat airbase".

"Although the strike will further weaken the overall air defence and ground attack capabilities of the (Syrian air force), it will not significantly diminish the ability of the Assad regime to conduct further chemical weapons attacks", wrote analyst Reed Foster of the defence and intelligence publication Jane's.

Col. Hassan Hamade, a Syrian pilot who defected in June 2012 when he landed his MiG-21 in Jordan, agreed.

No matter how extensive the damage at Shayrat, Assad has other options, Hamade said.

Idlib province is controlled by a rebel alliance that includes a former Al-Qaeda affiliate, and is regularly targeted by both the Syrian government and its Russian ally.

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But Syria and its Russian backers have many air bases and lots of military infrastructure in the country.

Hamade said Iranian military advisers were active at the base, though it was not possible to independently confirm the claim.

Neither Trump nor any other U.S. government agency presented a shed of proof that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used sarin nerve gas in its bombing of ISIS, Al Qaida or any other "rebel" groups in Syria's Idlib province, said the UNAC statement.

An activist with an opposition air raid warning service said however that the first flight from the base was on Saturday morning.

American officials described the attack - the first direct US assault on the government of President Bashar al-Assad in six years of civil war - as a one-off that would not lead to wider escalation.

"If the United States is serious about fighting terrorism, why not direct its missiles on Daesh (IS) and al-Nusra?" she added. A Syrian air base targeted in a United States cruise missile attack is operating again, the governor of Syria's Homs province confirmed yesterday. Syria's state news agency SANA said two missiles hit nearby villages, killing four people and wounding seven.

The Trump administration launched 60 Cruise Tomahawk missiles from its offshore Mediterranean warships in the attack on Syria's al-Shayrat military airfield near Homs, Syria's third largest city.

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