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The latest news on Syria from Business Insider

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    trump trump trump trump

    The US, France, and the UK, appear on the verge of combat with Syria, and possibly its ally Russia, over suspected chemical weapons use against civilians — and it could easily spiral into one of the most complicated, advanced military skirmishes of all time.

    But the US has a ton of firepower in the Middle East, though the stock has been depleted since ISIS's all but total defeat caused the US to send some assets home, and some assets elsewhere.

    Business Insider reviewed an Institute of International Strategic Studies report on the military balance in Syria to give a breakdown of what countries have what assets in striking range of Syria.

    Find out how the forces stack up, and who has what below:

    SEE ALSO: Despite incredibly threatening tweets, Trump's caution over Syria may have averted World War III

    The US has the air superiority fighters in place and ready to go.

    The US has a squadron of F-15E Strike Eagles in Jordan and a half-strength squadron of F-22 Raptor fighter jets in the United Arab Emirates for air supremacy.

    In Qatar, the US has B-1B Lancers replacing the old deployment of B-52 Stratofortresses, and B-2 Spirit stealth bombers are never far away, thanks to refueling and bases around the world.

    Elsewhere in the region, the US has A-10s and nine US Marine Corps F/A-18A+ Hornets.

    Source: IISS

     



    The US two destroyers in the region and tons of power under the waves.

    At sea, the US has two Arleigh-Berke class guided-missile destroyer, the USS Donald Cook and the USS Winston S. Churchill, which hold up to 96 Tomahawk cruise missiles, the very same type the US used in its last strike on Syria in April 2017.

    But underwater, the IISS estimates the US has one fast-attack nuclear submarine with up to 40 Tomahawks, and possibly another former nuclear-missile submarine converted to carry 154 Tomahawks, greatly upping the ante. 

    Source: IISS



    US ground forces also can't be underestimated.

    The US has ground-launched missiles that could riddle Syrian or Russian defenses, but would carry a high risk of counter attack as they're less mobile. 

    Source: IISS



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Jim Mattis

    • President Donald Trump's national security team, led by newly appointed national security adviser John Bolton, is in favor of a sweeping military strike on Syrian forces, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
    • Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is reportedly against sweeping strikes, fearing that they will trigger a wider conflict with Russia and Iran.
    • It is the first time that Mattis has had to make his case alone since two of his closest allies, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former national security adviser H. R. McMaster, have left the administration.


    President Donald Trump's National Security Council is reportedly in favor of conducting a massive military strike on Syrian government targets in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack last Saturday, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

    "Trump has been pushing for an attack that not only would punish the Syrian regime but also exact a price from two of its international patrons, Russia and Iran," the Journal reports, citing a White House official. 

    While the president and his national security team seem to favor a larger strike than the one conducted on a Syrian air base in April 2017, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis appears to be dissenting. 

    Mattis has reportedly resisted plans for a larger strike over fears it could trigger a larger conflict with Russia and Iran, according to the Journal. He has reportedly blocked at least two opportunities to strike at Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces since the crisis began.

    The US, France, and the UK, appear on the verge of combat with Syria, and possibly its ally Russia. A recent Institute of International Strategic Studies report on the military balance in Syria shows that the US and its allies would have a clear advantage.

    Although experts agree that Russia likely wouldn't engage the US in a counterattack, a retired Russian admiral said on Friday that Russia will sink US ships if need be.

    Mattis' reservations are in stark contrast to newly appointed national security adviser John Bolton, a noted foreign policy hawk who favors an attack that would be "ruinous" for the Syrian regime, the Journal reports. The strikes would be aimed at Assad's "government and national infrastructure," according to a person familiar with Bolton’s thinking.

    A White House official told the Journal that Trump "wants Mattis to push the limits a little bit more.” 

    This is likely the first time that Mattis has had to try to convince the president of a major decision on his own. Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a known Mattis ally in the Security Council, "had aligned himself with the Pentagon chief on virtually every major issue that came before the president," according to the WSJ report.

    SEE ALSO: A look at the region's firepower shows who would win if the US and allies fought Russia and Syria today

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why Russia is so involved in the Syrian Civil War


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    trump announces syria strikes

    • President Donald Trump ordered "precision strikes" on Syria Friday night, in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of people there earlier this month.
    • The military action is happening in coordination with Britain and France.
    • Last week's suspected chemical attack is widely believed to be the work of the Syrian government.
    • Syria has denied the accusation.


    President Donald Trump announced "precision strikes" on Syria on Friday, in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack that reportedly killed dozens of people there earlier this month.

    Britain and France have joined the US in the military operation, Trump said.

    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime was suspected of orchestrating a chlorine attack against the rebel-held town of Douma, near the capital of Damascus, on April 7. Although exact figures were unclear, the attack is believed to have killed dozens, many of them children. The New York Times said at least 43 of the victims showed signs of having been exposed to "highly toxic chemicals."

    "This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very terrible regime," Trump said on Friday.

    syria airstrikes april 13 april 14

    Trump called the incident a "heinous attack on innocent" Syrians and vowed that the US would respond: "This is about humanity; it can't be allowed to happen."

    Trump also accused Russia and Iran of being "responsible for supporting, equipping, and financing" Assad's regime: "What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children," Trump asked.

    "The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep," the president said. "No nation can succeed in the long run by promoting rogue states, brutal tyrants, and murderous dictators."

    Trump continued: "Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path or if it will join with civilized nations as a force for stability and peace. Hopefully, someday we'll get along with Russia, and maybe even Iran. But maybe not."

    theresa may army

    Britain and France join in the military action

    In a statement on Friday, British Prime Minister Theresa May said: "We cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalized — within Syria, on the streets of the UK, or anywhere else in our world. We would have preferred an alternative path. But on this occasion there is none.

    "History teaches us that the international community must defend the global rules and standards that keep us all safe. That is what our country has always done. And what we will continue to do."

    In his own announcement on the new strikes, French President Emmanuel Macron said  that France's "red line has been crossed," adding that there is "no doubt" that the Syrian government is responsible. 

    Macron says the operation is limited to Syria's abilities to produce chemical weapons

    An international uproar over chemical weapons

    The chemical attack prompted several nations to respond, including the UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel. Trump had reportedly talked to UK Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron this week, both of whom believed that the Syrian regime should be held accountable.

    "I just want to say very clearly, that if they use chemical weapons, they are going to pay a very, very stiff price," Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said.

    syria chemical attack death

    Although Trump reportedly advocated for a broad military strike that would punish Syria, and to an extent, its allies Russia and Iran, he is believed to have been met with resistance from Mattis and other military officials, who feared the White House lacked a broad strategy, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

    The latest chemical attack follows the suspected Syrian-sponsored sarin attack in April 2017, which reportedly killed 89 people. The US responded by firing 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase that was suspected of playing a role in the chemical attacks.

    Despite overwhelming evidence of the government's involvement in the attacks, Syria has denied responsibility for both incidents.

    In addition to Assad's denials, Russia, one of Syria's staunchest allies, has also dismissed the allegations as "fake news," and said its own experts found no "trace of chlorine or any other chemical substance used against civilians."

    On Tuesday, Russia took its response a step further and vetoed the US-backed United Nations resolution that condemned the apparent chemical attack.

    US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley rebuked the decision and called it a "sad day."

    "When the people of Douma, along with the rest of the international community, looked to this council to act, one country stood in the way," Haley said. "History will record that. History will record that, on this day, Russia chose protecting a monster over the lives of the Syrian people."

    This story is developing. Refresh this post for updates.

    SEE ALSO: The US didn't give Russia any advance warning about targets hit in Syria strikes

    DON'T MISS: Trump's generals tried to talk him out of pulling US troops from Syria — he didn't want to hear it

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why Russia is so involved in the Syrian Civil War


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    theresa may army

    British Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered military strikes in Syria alongside the US and France in response to the Assad regime's suspected use of chemical weapons.

    In a statement late on Friday, May said: "We cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalized — within Syria, on the streets of the UK, or anywhere else in our world. We would have preferred an alternative path. But on this occasion there is none.

    "History teaches us that the international community must defend the global rules and standards that keep us all safe. That is what our country has always done. And what we will continue to do."

    The military action was announced by President Donald Trump on Friday after a suspected chemical attack in Douma, Syria earlier this month that killed dozens.

    "This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very terrible regime," he said. "This is about humanity; it can't be allowed to happen."

    The British Parliament was not given an opportunity to vote on military action in Syria.

    Here's Theresa May's full statement, via The New York Times:

    "This evening I have authorized British armed forces to conduct coordinated and targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian Regime’s chemical weapons capability and deter their use. We are acting together with our American and French allies.

    In Douma, last Saturday a chemical weapons attack killed up to 75 people, including young children, in circumstances of pure horror. The fact of this attack should surprise no one. The Syrian Regime has a history of using chemical weapons against its own people in the most cruel and abhorrent way.

    And a significant body of information including intelligence indicates the Syrian Regime is responsible for this latest attack. This persistent pattern of behavior must be stopped — not just to protect innocent people in Syria from the horrific deaths and casualties caused by chemical weapons but also because we cannot allow the erosion of the international norm that prevents the use of these weapons. We have sought to use every possible diplomatic channel to achieve this.

    But our efforts have been repeatedly thwarted. Even this week the Russians vetoed a Resolution at the UN Security Council which would have established an independent investigation into the Douma attack. So there is no practicable alternative to the use of force to degrade and deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Regime. This is not about intervening in a civil war. It is not about regime change. It is about a limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region and that does everything possible to prevent civilian casualties. And while this action is specifically about deterring the Syrian Regime, it will also send a clear signal to anyone else who believes they can use chemical weapons with impunity.

    At this time, my thoughts are with our brave British servicemen and women — and our French and American partners — who are carrying out their duty with the greatest professionalism. The speed with which we are acting is essential in cooperating with our partners to alleviate further humanitarian suffering and to maintain the vital security of our operations. This is the first time as Prime Minister that I have had to take the decision to commit our armed forces in combat — and it is not a decision I have taken lightly.

    I have done so because I judge this action to be in Britain’s national interest. We cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalized — within Syria, on the streets of the UK, or anywhere else in our world. We would have preferred an alternative path. But on this occasion there is none. History teaches us that the international community must defend the global rules and standards that keep us all safe. That is what our country has always done. And what we will continue to do."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Stop blaming violent video games for mass shootings


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    Jim Mattis Joseph Dunford

    • The US said it did not coordinate with Russia or notify the country of strikes Friday night on Syria, where Russia has military bases and soldiers.
    • "We did not do any coordination with Russia on these strikes, and neither did we pre-notify them," Marine General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Friday night. 
    • "We did not coordinate targets or any planning with the Russians," Dunford said later, speaking at a press briefing alongside Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. The Joint Chiefs chairman confirmed that normal deconflicting lines were used.
    • A French defense minister seemed to contradict that assertion early Saturday morning, saying Russia was warned ahead of time.

    The US says it did not coordinate with Russia or notify the country of strikes Friday night on Syria, where Russia has military bases and soldiers.

    "We did not do any coordination with Russia on these strikes, and neither did we pre-notify them," Marine General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Friday night. 

    "We did not coordinate targets or any planning with the Russians," Dunford said later, speaking at a press briefing alongside Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. The Joint Chiefs chairman confirmed that normal deconflicting lines were used.

    Reports earlier this week claimed that the US military would notify its Russian counterparts of potential targets before a strike.

    A French defense minister seemed to contradict Dunford's assertion early Saturday morning, saying Russia was warned ahead of time, the Associated Press reported.

    Tensions before the strikes were high, as the potential of the US or its allies hitting Russian forces could lead to an escalation of the conflict. President Donald Trump warned Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week that missiles would be coming to Syria.

    "Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!,'" Trump tweeted. "You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!"

    SEE ALSO: US, Britain, and France hammer Syria with airstrikes in response to suspected chemical weapons attack that killed dozens

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why Russia is so involved in the Syrian Civil War


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    Syria airstrikes april 13 april 14

    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:

    SEE ALSO: Trump orders 'precision strikes' on Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack that killed dozens

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why Russia is so involved in the Syrian Civil War


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    trump putin

    • The Russian ambassador to the US railed against the US-led coalition campaign against suspected Syrian chemical weapons facilities.
    • The Russian ambassador said his country is being "threatened" and warned that "such actions will not be left without consequences."
    • Defense Secretary James Mattis appeared to have referenced Russia and warned of its "disinformation campaign" in the coming days.


    The Russian ambassador to the US lashed out against the US-led coalition campaign against suspected Syrian chemical weapons facilities. The military action is a response to an apparent chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of people earlier this month.

    "The worst apprehensions have true," ambassador Anatoly Antonov said in a statement. "Our warnings have been left unheard. A pre-designed scenario is being implemented."

    "Again, we are being threatened," Antonov continued. "We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences. All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris."

    On Friday at 9 p.m. EDT, military forces from the US, UK, and France launched a military campaign in Syria, targeting the country's research facilities that were believed to have been involved in the development of chemical weapons.

    Russia, a key Syrian ally, dismissed the allegations against Syria and said its own experts found no "trace of chlorine or any other chemical substance used against civilians."

    During a week of tense sabre-rattling, Russian officials periodically warned the US that a military response may spiral out of control to war.

    "Insulting the President of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissible," Antonov said in his statement responding to the US-led military action. "The US — the possessor of the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons — has no moral right to blame other countries."

    However, Defense Secretary James Mattis seemed to have anticipated Russia's rhetoric and addressed it during a press briefing at the Pentagon on Friday evening.

    "Based on recent experience, we fully expect a significant disinformation campaign over the coming days by those who have aligned themselves with the Assad regime," Mattis said.

    SEE ALSO: US, Britain, and France hammer Syria with airstrikes in response to suspected chemical weapons attack that killed dozens

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why Russia is so involved in the Syrian Civil War


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    Syria Air Strike Damascus

    The US, UK, and France hit Syria with air and sea launched missile strikes on Friday night and they seem to have struck the capital city, Damascus.

    Observers on the ground reported hearing loud explosions and feeling the impact of missiles. "The city and the hills are surrounded by military facilities, and it appeared that these were among the first targets," The New York Times reports.

    The US confirmed at a press conference led by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Joseph Dunford that one of the intended targets was a scientific research center in Damascus.

    Photographers on the ground captured stark images of missiles over the historic city:

    SEE ALSO: A look at the region's firepower shows who would win if the US and allies fought Russia and Syria today

    Missiles streaked across the sky above Damascus.



    The strikes were in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack the Syrian government carried out.



    These strikes seem to have hit the heart of the city.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Syria Air Strikes Damascus

    • The US fired more than 118 missiles in "precision strikes" on Syria on Friday night.
    • Defense Secretary James Mattis said the number of weapons used was "a little over double" that  of a 2017 air strike on Syria which involved 59 Tomahawk missiles.
    • If Tomahawk missiles were used, the minimum weapons cost of the Friday strike would be $165 million.


    The US fired more than 118 missiles on Syria on Friday in precision strikes that were fired in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack last weekend.

    US Defense Secretary James Mattis confirmed that the US used more than twice as many missiles as it did in a 2017 strike on Syria's Sharyat Airbase on April 7, 2017. That attack used 59 Tomahawk missiles, and was ordered by President Donald Trump, who said the action was in response to a chemical attack three days earlier.

    "We used a little over double the number of weapons this year than we used last year," Mattis said on Friday.

    "We were very precise and proportionate, but at the same time it was a heavy strike," he said.

    It's unclear yet what weapons were used. But if the Raytheon-produced Tomahawk missiles, which have an estimated cost of $1.4 million each, were used in Friday's strike, that puts the minimum weapons cost at $165.2 million.

    Friday's strike was launched in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack last Saturday which killed dozens of people, and injured scores more.

    Shortly after the attack, President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to a "strong, joint response" if it was found the attack believed to be made by Assad's regime used a chemical weapon. UK Prime Minister Theresa May reportedly also spoke with Trump this week.

    France and the UK have joined the US military operation.

    SEE ALSO: US, Britain, and France hammer Syria with airstrikes in response to suspected chemical weapons attack that killed dozens

    DON'T MISS: The US says it didn't give Russia any advance warning about targets hit in Syria strikes

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why Russia is so involved in the Syrian Civil War


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    Rafale Fighter Jet

    • The US, UK, and France conducted airstrikes against the Syrian regime on Friday night.
    • The US reportedly deployed B-1B bombers and launched Tomahawk missiles from three US destroyers.
    • France deployed Mirage and Rafale jets, while the UK deployed Tornado jets.


    The US, UK, and France conducted air strikes against the Syrian government at around 9:00 PM EST on Friday night.

    Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said at a press conference on Friday night that double the amount of weapons were used compared with the strike in April 2017, which consisted of 59 Tomahawk missiles.

    The US also deployed B-1B Lancer long-range bombers, and launched Tomahawk missiles from three US destroyers, the USS Porter, USS Cook, and USS Higgins, New York Times reporter Thomas Gibbons-Neff tweeted, citing a US official.

    Gibbons-Neff tweeted that the French used fourth generation Mirage fighter jets, and that the British used Tornados jets.

    France reportedly deployed Rafale jets loaded with SCALP-EG cruise missiles, according to The Drive's Tyler Rogoway. A video has been released by the French government showing the Rafale jets taking off before the strike.

    Rogoway also reported that the US B-1B bombers might have been carrying JASSMs, which are also air-launched cruise missiles.

    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.

    It's unclear yet if any civilians were killed.

    Mattis also said that the strikes were "a one-time shot," and that future strikes would depend on whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad continues to use chemical weapons.

    SEE ALSO: Photos of US, UK, and French military strikes show just how close missiles got to Syria's capital city

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why Russia is so involved in the Syrian Civil War


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    James Mattis and Donald Trump

    • US Defense Secretary James Mattis wanted to approach strikes on Syria with far more caution than President Donald Trump.
    • Mattis' measured approach was recorded in public comments this week as well as in a number of high-profile leaks.
    • According to a defense expert, Mattis' team may have used leaks because they "want the record to show" he wanted to proceed with caution in Syria.
    • Mattis is concerned that aggressive action against Syria could cause chaos or military action by Russia or Iran against US troops.


    US Defense Secretary James Mattis may have used leaks about strikes on Syria to distance himself from President Donald Trump and potentially negative fallout from Friday's US-led military action.

    On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported Mattis was resisting Trump's desire for sweeping strikes on Syria and successfully halted two potential attacks earlier this week. The Journal also said Mattis wanted "a more limited action that wouldn't risk a wider confrontation with Russian forces."

    CNN and the The New York Times also reported that Mattis warned Trump, in a meeting with military officials on Thursday, that an aggressive response in Syria would risk escalating US involvement.

    The information was told to reporters by defense and US officials, which may have been a strategy from Mattis' team, according to experts.

    Leaks about the defense secretary's pushback "may mean that Secretary Mattis is losing the battle with the White House and those around him want the record to show that he favored more caution," Nicholas Heras, a defense fellow at the Center for New American Security, told The National.

    Mattis may be separating himself from the strikes in case it leads to Russia or Iran attacking the 2,000-strong US troops in Syria or chaos ensuing from a potential collapse of Assad's regime, said Heras.

    Mattis also indicated his desire to proceed with caution during public comments to the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

    "We are trying to stop the murder of innocent people," Mattis said. "But on a strategic level, it’s how do we keep this from escalating out of control — if you get my drift on that."

    Until recently, Mattis' more cautious approach to foreign policy was often backed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. But with Tillerson now gone, and with a far more hawkish national security adviser in John Bolton, Mattis likely found fewer allies in convincing Trump to proceed with caution.

    SEE ALSO: The US says it didn't give Russia any advance warning about targets hit in Syria strikes

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why Russia is so involved in the Syrian Civil War


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    trump hitler

    • A leading Russian politcian is comparing Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler.
    • Alexander Sherin's comments came after the US-led launch of missile strikes on Syria on Friday night.
    • Russia has had military presence in Syria since 2015 and has warned there will be 'consequences' of the attacks.

     

    A high-ranking Russian politician has compared US president Donald Trump to former German dictator and Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler.

    The comments came after the US, UK, and France launched missile strikes on Syria Friday night, for which Russia, who has had military presence in the country since 2015, has warned there will be "consequences."

    According to The Guardian, Alexander Sherin, Russia’s deputy head of the state Duma’s defence committee, said Trump "can be called Adolf Hitler no. 2 of our time because, you see, he even chose the time that Hitler attacked the Soviet Union," referencing the strike time of around 4 a.m.

    Sherin also described the air strikes as "a targeted threat against Russia."

    Russia’s ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov has also issued a statement lashing out against the US-led coalition campaign, whose military action is a response to an apparent chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of people earlier this month.

    "The worst apprehensions have true," ambassador Anatoly Antonov said. "Our warnings have been left unheard. A pre-designed scenario is being implemented.

    "Again, we are being threatened," Antonov continued. "We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences. All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris."

    The statement went on to say that "insulting the President of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissible.

    "The US — the possessor of the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons — has no moral right to blame other countries," Antonov added.

    SEE ALSO: 'We are being threatened': Russia seethes over US-led military strikes in Syria

    SEE ALSO: Photos of US, UK, and French military strikes show just how close missiles got to Syria's capital city

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: What living on Earth would be like without the moon


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    theresa may syria

    • UK defense secretary Gavin Williamson said the strikes launched by the US, UK, and France on Syria have been a 'highly successful mission.'
    • Prime Minister Theresa May has also called them 'right and legal.'
    • The missile strikes were launched on Friday night.
    • They appear to have struck the capital city of Damascus.

     


    The UK's defence secretary has said the strikes the US, UK, and France launched on Syria on Friday night have been a "highly successful mission" while British Prime Minister Theresa May has called them "right and legal."

    Speaking at a press conference on the strikes on Saturday morning, May said no group other than the Syrian government could have carried out a suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma last week.

    "We know that the Syrian regime has an abhorrent record of using chemical weapons against its own people," she said, adding that it was "both right and legal" to take action against the Syrian government, according to the BBC.

    Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, defense secretary Gavin Williamson said four RAF tornados took part in strikes on targets in Syria, according to The Guardian.

    A statement from Russia's defense ministry said that "more than 100 cruise missiles and air-to-land missiles were fired by the US, Britain, and France from the sea and air at Syrian military and civilian targets."

    The missiles appear to have struck the capital city, Damascus.

    Syria Air Strike Damascus

    The US confirmed at a press conference that one of the intended targets was a scientific research center in Damascus.

    The statement from Russia's ministry went on to say that "a significant number" of missiles were shot down by Syrian air defences, and that no Russian air defences based in Syria were hit in the strikes.

    However, Williamson said that initial assessments suggest it was a "highly successful mission."

    The strike was in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack that reportedly killed dozens of people there earlier this month.

    SEE ALSO: Photos of US, UK, and French military strikes show just how close missiles got to Syria's capital city

    SEE ALSO: US, Britain, and France hammer Syria with missile strikes in response to suspected chemical weapons attack

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    Donald Trump

    • On Saturday, President Donald Trump lauded the US and its allies, the UK and France, for the "perfectly executed" military strikes on Syria late Friday.
    • "Could not have had a better results" Trump tweeted. "Mission Accomplished!"
    • The operation was undertaken following a devastating chemical weapons attack in a rebel-controlled Damascus suburb which killed dozens earlier this month.
    • The strikes drew a harsh response from Russia, a key Syrian ally.
    • But the US appears to have anticipated Russia's rhetoric and Defense Secretary James Mattis warned of "a significant disinformation campaign over the coming days by those who have aligned themselves with the Assad regime."

    President Donald Trump on Saturday praised the US military, the UK, and France for a series of military strikes on Syria that were carried out late Friday.

    "A perfectly executed strike last night," Trump tweeted Saturday morning. "Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!"

    He added: "So proud of our great Military which will son be, after the spending of billions of fully approved dollars, the finest that our Country has ever had. There won't be anything, or anyone, even close!"

    The joint operation, led by the US, was undertaken in response to a devastating chemical attack in the rebel-controlled Damascus suburb of Douma, which killed dozens of people earlier this month. The attack is believed to have been ordered by the Syrian government, spearheaded by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    Friday's military campaign targeted research facilities that are thought to have been involved in the production of chemical weapons.

    The operation drew a swift and harsh response from Russia, a key Syrian ally. Russia has several military bases and troops in Syria, and the US said Friday that it did not coordinate with or notify Russia of the strikes.

    The Kremlin has repeatedly dismissed the allegations against Syria and said its own experts found no "trace of chlorine or any other chemical substance used against civilians."

    Following the strikes, Russia called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council to address the military campaign. A Security Council diplomat said the body would meet later Saturday.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin called the operation an "act of aggression" that will only serve to worsen the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

    Meanwhile, Anatoly Antonov, Russia's ambassador to the US, said in a statement Friday that "the worst apprehensions have come true. Our warnings have been left unheard. A pre-designed scenario is being implemented."

    "Again, we are being threatened," Antonov continued. "We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences. All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris."

    During a week of tense sabre-rattling, Russian officials periodically warned the US that a military response may spiral out of control to war.

    "Insulting the President of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissible," Antonov said in his statement responding to the US-led military action. "The US — the possessor of the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons — has no moral right to blame other countries."

    However, Defense Secretary James Mattis seemed to have anticipated Russia's rhetoric and addressed it during a press briefing at the Pentagon on Friday evening.

    "Based on recent experience, we fully expect a significant disinformation campaign over the coming days by those who have aligned themselves with the Assad regime," Mattis said.

    SEE ALSO: The US, Britain, and France launched coordinated military strikes against Syria — photos from the ground show how it's playing out

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    FILE PHOTO: Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with AFP news agency in Damascus, Syria in this handout picture provided by SANA on April 13, 2017. SANA/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

    • The Pentagon said the US-led military campaign on Syria took out the "heart" of the country's chemical weapons program — but that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad still maintains "residual" capacity.
    • The US was also worried that the strikes would prompt a confrontation with Syria's biggest military ally: Russia.
    • But the Pentagon said that worry had eased after the US learned that the Syria strikes had not resulted in any Russian casualties.

    The Pentagon said Saturday that a series of military strikes on Syria carried out by a US-led coalition struck at the "heart" of Syria’s chemical weapons program.

    Director of the Joint Staff Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie confirmed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad still maintains "residual" capacity.

    The US, UK, and France carried out a joint operation on Friday night targeting three research facilities in Syria thought to have been involved in the production of chemical weapons.

    The military campaign was in response to a devastating chemical attack in the rebel-controlled Damascus suburb of Douma, which killed dozens of people earlier this month. The attack is believed to have been ordered by the Syrian government.

    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis did not say whether he believed the strikes would deter Assad from using chemical weapons again.

    "Nothing is certain in these kinds of matters," he said. "However, we used a little over double the number of weapons this year than we used last year. It was done on targets that we believed were selected to hurt the chemical weapons program. We confined it to the chemical weapons-type targets."

    President Donald Trump on Saturday praised the US military, the UK, and France for the operation.

    "A perfectly executed strike last night," Trump tweeted Saturday morning. "Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!"

    The joint military campaign drew a swift and harsh response from Russia, a key Syrian ally and its strongest partner. Russia has several military bases and thousands of troops in Syria, and the US said Friday that it did not coordinate with or notify Russia of the strikes.

    The Kremlin has repeatedly dismissed the allegations against Syria and said its own experts found no "trace of chlorine or any other chemical substance used against civilians."

    One major concern the US had was that the Syria strikes would prompt a direct confrontation between Washington and Moscow, whose relations have been spiraling downward. But the Pentagon said on Saturday that worry had been eased by the fact that there were no Russian casualties as a result of Friday’s military campaign.

    Following the strikes, Russia called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to address the military campaign. A Security Council diplomat said the body would meet later Saturday.

    SEE ALSO: 'Mission Accomplished!': Trump praises the US, UK, and France for Syrian military strikes

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    vladimir putin

    • Russia called for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council following the US-led military strikes on Syria late Friday.
    • The Security Council will meet Saturday.
    • Russian President Vladimir Putin called the operation an "act of aggression," and Iran said it was a "criminal" attack.
    • NATO and the US's other allies expressed support for the strikes, which were carried out in response to a chemical attack in Syria thought to have been ordered by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A UN Security Council diplomat says the council will meet later Saturday at Russia's request, following the US-led airstrikes on Syria.

    Moscow has denounced the attack on its ally by the US, Britain, and France. Russian president Vladimir Putin calls it an "act of aggression" that will only worsen the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

    The Security Council held emergency meetings this past week on the suspected poison gas attack last weekend in the rebel-controlled Damascus suburb of Douma.

    President Donald Trump and his British and French allies say the airstrikes were necessary to deter Syria's use of chemical weapons. Russia insists there's no evidence that chemical weapons were used.

    A fact-finding team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is in Syria to investigate.

    SEE ALSO: US, Britain, and France hammer Syria with missile strikes in response to suspected chemical weapons attack

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    Tomahawk Missile USS Monterey

    The US launched Tomahawk missiles at Syria on Friday night, as part of a coordinated strike with the UK and France.

    Alongside the Tomahawks were Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range, or JASSM-ER, used for the first time in combat. British Tornado fighter jets launched Storm Shadow missiles, as well.

    The Pentagon confirmed Saturday morning that 105 weapons were used in total.

    The US deployed B-1B Lancer long-range bombers, and launched Tomahawk missiles from three US destroyers — the USS Monterey, USS Laboon, and USS Higgins. Tomahawk missiles were alsolaunched from the USS John Warner, a Virginia-class attack submarine.

    The Pentagon has released videos of Tomahawks being fired from the USS Monterey, which you can watch below:

    Here's the Tomahawk flying through the sky:

    SEE ALSO: Photos of US, UK, and French military strikes show just how close missiles got to Syria's capital city

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    Donald Trump

    • President Donald Trump is getting dragged on Twitter for using the phrase, "Mission Accomplished," following a series of military strikes on Syria.
    • People are pointing out parallels between Trump's statement and when former President George W. Bush stood in front of a banner that read, "Mission Accomplished," just six weeks after the US invaded Iraq in 2003.
    • The Iraq War dragged on for years after, and the banner went on to symbolize the US's misjudgment in what became the Bush presidency's defining foreign policy disaster.
    • Following Trump's tweet, Ari Fleischer, who was Bush's press secretary at the time of the 2003 speech, said, "Um...I would have recommended ending this tweet with not those two words."

    President Donald Trump declared victory on Saturday after a joint military strike on Syria in response to a chemical attack in a Syrian suburb, saying it was a "perfectly executed" operation.

    He then tacked on: "Mission Accomplished!"

    Twitter promptly seized on the statement, drawing comparisons to an infamous May 2003 speech in which President George W. Bush proudly declared the end of a major US presence in Iraq while standing on an aircraft carrier in front of a banner that said, "Mission Accomplished."

    Bush's speech came just six weeks after the US invaded Iraq, but the war dragged on for years after, costing thousands of lives and billions in taxpayer money. The "Mission Accomplished" banner went on to symbolize the US's misjudgment on the issue, and the Iraq War became the defining foreign policy disaster of the Bush presidency.

    Twitter users, including Ari Fleischer, who was Bush's press secretary at the time of his speech, wasted no time pointing out the parallels between then and now, particularly as it relates to the US's involvement in another Middle East conflict.

    The US, France, and the UK carried out Friday's joint operation in response to a devastating chemical weapons attack in the rebel-controlled Damascus suburb of Douma, which killed dozens of people earlier this month. The attack is believed to have been ordered by the Syrian government, spearheaded by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    Friday's military campaign targeted research facilities that are thought to have been involved in the production of chemical weapons.

    The Pentagon said Saturday that the strikes struck at the "heart" of Syria's chemical weapons program, but officials added that Assad may still have "residual" capabilities.

    The operation drew a swift and harsh response from Russia, a key Syrian ally. Russia has several military bases and troops in Syria, and the US said Friday that it did not coordinate with or notify Russia of the strikes.

    One major concern the US had was that the Syria strikes would prompt a direct confrontation between Washington and Moscow, whose relations have spiraled downward in recent months. But the Pentagon said on Saturday that their worry had been eased by the fact that there were no Russian casualties as a result of Friday's military campaign.

    Following the strikes, Russia called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to address the operation. The body is set to meet on Saturday.

    SEE ALSO: Pentagon: US-led Syria strikes struck at 'heart' of chemical weapons program, but 'residual' capacity remains

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    Vladimir Putin Bashar al-Assad Syria Russia

    • The UN Security Council did not adopt a resolution from Russia on Saturday that would have condemned the US and its allies for a joint military strike on Syrian chemical weapons facilities.
    • Russia, China, and Bolivia voted in favor of the draft resolution, eight countries voted against it, and four abstained.
    • Russia, which is Syria's strongest military ally, repeatedly warned the US against carrying out Friday's strikes, and the operation dealt a significant blow to already fragile US-Russia relations.
    • Nikki Haley, the US's ambassador to the UN, said the US would be "locked and loaded" if Assad used chemical weapons again.

    The United Nations Security Council rejected a resolution Saturday from Russia that would have condemned "the aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic by the US and its allies in violation of international law and the UN Charter."

    Russia, China and Bolivia voted in favor of the draft resolution, Reuters reported. Eight countries voted against the draft and four abstained. In order to pass, a resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes from the US, France, China, Russia, or the UK.

    Russia has forcefully denounced a series of joint military strikes that the US, UK, and France launched against Syria late Friday.

    The operation, which was led by the US, was undertaken in response to a devastating chemical attack in the rebel-controlled Damascus suburb of Douma, which killed dozens of people earlier this month. The attack is believed to have been ordered by the Syrian government, spearheaded by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    Friday's military campaign targeted three research facilities that are thought to have been involved in the production of chemical weapons.

    Nikki Haley, the US's ambassador to the UN, said the US would be "locked and loaded" if Assad used chemical weapons again.

    Russia has several military bases and troops in Syria, and the US said Friday that it did not coordinate with or notify Russia of the strikes. The Pentagon said there were no Russian casualties as a result of the operation.

    Officials added that the strikes took out the "heart" of Syria's chemical weapons program, but that Assad still maintains "residual" capabilities.

    Defense Secretary James Mattis did not say whether he believed the strikes would deter Assad from using chemical weapons again.

    "Nothing is certain in these kinds of matters," he said. "However, we used a little over double the number of weapons this year than we used last year. It was done on targets that we believed were selected to hurt the chemical weapons program. We confined it to the chemical weapons-type targets."

    The Pentagon confirmed Saturday that 105 weapons were used, in total, in the coordinated strikes.

    The military operation prompted a swift and harsh response from Russia and Iran, both of which are key allies of Syria.

    Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, slammed the strikes as a "military crime."

    The Kremlin has repeatedly dismissed the allegations against Syria and said its own experts found no "trace of chlorine or any other chemical substance used against civilians."

    Russian President Vladimir Putin called the strikes an "act of aggression" that will only serve to worsen the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

    Anatoly Antonov, Russia's ambassador to the US, said in a statement Friday that "the worst apprehensions have come true. Our warnings have been left unheard. A pre-designed scenario is being implemented."

    "Again, we are being threatened," Antonov continued. "We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences. All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris."

    President Trump lauded the US military, the UK, and France on Saturday.

    "A perfectly executed strike last night," Trump tweeted. "Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!"

    The operation also drew support from the NATO, the European Union, and other key US allies.

    During a week of tense sabre-rattling, Russian officials periodically warned the US that a military response may spiral out of control to war.

    "Insulting the President of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissible," Antonov said in his statement responding to the US-led military action. "The US — the possessor of the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons — has no moral right to blame other countries."

    However, Mattis seemed to have anticipated Russia's rhetoric and addressed it during a press briefing at the Pentagon on Friday evening.

    "Based on recent experience, we fully expect a significant disinformation campaign over the coming days by those who have aligned themselves with the Assad regime," Mattis said.

    SEE ALSO: Pentagon: US-led Syria strikes struck at 'heart' of chemical weapons program, but 'residual' capacity remains

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    B 1B Lancer

    • The United States, France and the United Kingdom launched strikes against targets in Syria.
    • The propaganda war is in full swing between the U.S. and its allies as Russia and Syria claim vastly different results from overnight strikes.
    • “We are confident that all of our missiles reached their targets,” US Lt. Gen. McKenzie said, in direct contrast to Russian claims that cruise missiles were shot down by Syrian defenses.


    The United States, France and the United Kingdom launched strikes against targets in Syria on Friday night U.S. time, early morning in Syria. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. General Joseph Dunford, told news media that the strikes hit three targets inside Syria.

    The targets included a research facility in the Syrian capital of Damascus alleged to be used in chemical weapons production, a storage facility thought to house chemical weapon stockpiles west of Homs, Syria and a command and control facility outside Homs claimed to also be used for weapons storage.

    The last cruise missiles may have landed in Syria for now but the propaganda war is in full swing between the U.S. and its allies as Russia and Syria claim vastly different results from overnight strikes.

    Soon after the strikes in Syria ended today Russian news media claimed that 71 cruise missiles were intercepted during the strikes on Syria Friday night/Saturday morning. In a press conference today, Russian Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff, Colonel Sergei Rudskoy, said Syrian military facilities had suffered only minor damage from the strikes.

    By contrast, in a press conference on Saturday morning, April 14, U.S. Pentagon spokesperson Dana White told journalists the U.S. and its allies, “successfully hit every target” during the strikes from the U.S., Britain and France. U.S. Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., The Director of the Joint Staff (DJS) displayed photos of targets that were hit in Syria during the press conference. “We are confident that all of our missiles reached their targets,” Lt. Gen. McKenzie told reporters, in direct contrast to Russian claims that cruise missiles were shot down by Syrian defenses.

    The U.S. released the following details on weapons employed in the overnight strike:

     

    From the Red Sea:

    USS Monterey (Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser) – 30 Tomahawk missiles

    USS Laboon (Arleigh Burke-class destroyer) – 7 Tomahawk missiles

    From the North Arabian Gulf:

    USS Higgins (Arleigh Burke-class destroyer) – 23 Tomahawk missiles

    From the eastern Mediterranean:

    USS John Warner (Virginia class submarine) – 6 Tomahawk missiles

    A French frigate ship (could not understand name) – 3 missiles (naval version of SCALP missiles)

    From the air:

    2 B-1 Lancer bombers – 19 joint air to surface standoff missiles

    British flew a combination of Tornado and Typhoon jets – 8 Storm Shadow missiles

    French flew a combination of Rafales and Mirages – 9 SCALP missiles

    The above order of battle does not include the F-16s and F-15s aircraft providing DCA (Defensive Counter Air) nor the U.S. Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler that provided EW escort to the B-1s.

    One fact that both sides seem to agree on is that all U.S., French and UK aircraft involved in the strike returned to their bases successfully. Ships that participated in the strike remained at sea without armed confrontation from Syria or Russia. This alone marks a victory for the allied forces striking Syria following a week of rhetoric by Russia about defending Syrian interests. Based on this outcome it would appear the U.S. and its allies can strike targets in the heavily defended region with impunity. U.S President Donald Trump tweeted “Mission accomplished!” on Saturday morning.

    While claims of success or failure by either side in a conflict are usually manipulated to control public perceptions Russia does have a long reputation for effective and highly adaptive air defense systems, as the U.S. does for precision strike success using cruise missiles. Russia also has a reputation for using media as a tool to craft perception of outcomes, historically to a greater degree than the U.S. But despite Russia’s admittedly dangerous air defense technology in Syria, it would appear the three nations delivering the overnight strikes in Syria achieved their objectives without loss.

    One potential factor that may have influenced the effectiveness of some U.S. weapons systems was that the U.S. Administration was very vocal about the upcoming strikes, giving significant advanced warning to Russian-supplied Syrian air defense units.

    It is reasonable to suggest that Syrian air defense units spent this entire previous week preparing for a predicted U.S. and allied strike on Syria. Based on intelligence gathered by Syrian and Russian air defense crews from the U.S. strike exactly a year and a week ago on Shayrat Airbase in Syria, air defense crews were likely well-drilled and prepared to meet a U.S.-led attack on their claimed chemical weapons facilities.

    By contrast, this also gave the U.S led trio of nations participating in the strike time to gather intelligence about Syrian air defense capabilities so attack plans could be optimized to avoid losses. This approach appears to have prevailed in this strike.

    syria missile strike

    If Syrian air defense units were ineffective in stopping U.S. cruise missiles, and most information now points to that outcome (actually, it looks like the Syrians fired their missiles after the last missile had hit), this represents a significant blow to the Assad regime and to Russia’s ability to assist in an effective air defense in the region.

    The Tomahawk missile, one of several stand-off weapons used in the overnight strikes in Syria, is an older and still effective weapons platform especially in its most updated versions. Tomahawks were first employed in the 1991 strikes against Iraq when 288 of them were fired in the opening days of the war.

    While first adopted over 35 years ago, the Tomahawk has been repeatedly upgraded but remains somewhat limited by its overall dimensions that prevent it from having a larger engine installed that would deliver greater speed. The missile currently flies to its target at low altitude and subsonic speeds of about 550 miles per hour.

    This low speed may make it vulnerable to sophisticated air defense systems Russia is known for such as its advanced S-400 system, called the SA-21 Growler in the west. However, the low altitude flight profile of an attacking Tomahawk, its ability to use terrain masking for cover and concealment and its relatively small size, significantly smaller than a manned combat aircraft, make it a difficult target for even the most advanced air defense systems.

    The Russian supplied air defense systems in use in Syria that include the S-400 missile and its 92N6E “Gravestone” fire control radar along with other systems are highly mobile and highly adaptive. That means that, while intelligence sources can pinpoint the locations of Syrian air defense systems prior to a strike, those systems can be moved in the hours before a strike to present a different threat posture to attacking missiles and aircraft.

    Most of the launch platforms for the BGM-109 Tomahawk are large, non-stealthy surface ships, although submerged submarines also launch Tomahawks. The newest version Block IV Tomahawk missile employs several upgrades to its guidance and targeting systems that improve accuracy and flexibility, but may increase time over a target area, making the missile potentially more vulnerable to sophisticated air defense systems.

    It is likely more modern stand-off weapons like the UK’s MBDA Storm Shadow and French SCALP-EG cruise missile along with the new AGM-158 JASSM-ER (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range) were highly effective in Friday night’s strike on Syria by UK, France and the U.S. If this were the case the Tomahawks may have served a purpose by engaging relatively lightly defended targets while attacks by the more recent version of SCALP and JASSM-ER missiles could have struck more heavily defended targets.

    As with most conflicts the ancient cliché about the truth being one of the first casualties seems to be true in this latest exchange in Syria, but the emerging strike intelligence from the U.S., England and France suggest this round goes to them and a significant blow was dealt to the Russian-backed Assad.

    SEE ALSO: Photos of US, UK, and French military strikes show just how close missiles got to Syria's capital city

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