08:53 GMT +319 August 2019
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    The body of a plane burned as a result of the US missile attack on an air base in Syria

    Understanding the Strategic Importance of the Syrian Air Base Bombed By US

    © Sputnik / Mikhail Voskresenskiy
    Middle East
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    The military airfield in Ash Sha'irat, seriously damaged by the attacks of US cruise missiles April 7, was actively used by the Syrian Air Force from the very beginning of the civil war.

    Head of the Center for Military Forecasting Anatoly Tsyganok believes that the US military activities in the country "play into the hands" of Daesh terrorists.

    "The Syrian Air Force can use about 8-10 military airfields in Damascus-controlled territories," Tsyganok told Sputnik. "Today, one of them was destroyed, which means that the other air bases will have to do much more work. Now our pilots will also have more work, and the terrorists will definitely try to use this missile strike in their favor."

    In fact, a few hours after the strike, the terrorists launched an offensive in the eastern part of Homs province, just near the airfield, an official representative of the Ministry of Defense of Russia, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said.

    The information was confirmed by the Arab online portal Al-Masdar. After two hours of fighting, the Syrian army managed to repulse the offensive. However, experts believe that the terrorists are likely to attempt other attacks in the near future.

    Aftermath of the US missile attack on a Syrian military airbase
    © Sputnik / Mikhail Voskresenskiy
    Aftermath of the US missile attack on a Syrian military airbase

    The convenient location of the airfield in Ash Sha'irat — 38 kilometers southeast of the city of Homs, in the center of the western part of the country — allowed the Syrian forces to carry out combat missions in various parts of the country.

    "A three-kilometer long runway could accept planes of all types — from fighters to heavy transporters. An additional runway of similar length was supposed to be used in the event of a major failure," military observer Alexander Kotz wrote for RIA Novosti.

    Now, the airfield is fully out of order. The satellite images published by Western media shortly after the strikes clearly show that the US cruise missiles seriously damaged its infrastructure, including both runways, and hit tanks with aviation fuel. This information was confirmed to Sputnik by an airfield employee.

    On Thursday night, the US military launched multiple cruise missiles at the Syrian military airfield in Ash Sha'irat, near the city of Homs. US President Donald Trump said the missile attack was a response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria's Idlib Province on Tuesday.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the US attack, adding that the use of chemical weapons in Idlib was impossible, as Damascus did not have such weapons. Moscow also suspended a memorandum of understanding on air safety over Syria with Washington earlier in the day due to the US attack.

    The United States carried out a missile attack on an air base in Syria Thursday
    © Sputnik / Mikhail Voskresenskiy
    The United States carried out a missile attack on an air base in Syria Thursday


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    missile attacks, airfield, Syria, United States
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