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    The aftermath of a US missile strike at the Shayrat military field in Syria

    Mad Dog Mattis Claims Sha’irat Strike Destroyed 20% of Syria’s Jets

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    US Defense Secretary James Mattis claims the Pentagon’s recent assault on the Sha’irat air base in Homs, Syria led to the destruction of 20 percent of the Syrian Arab Army’s aircraft.

    Despite self-congratulations on the part of Washington for its "success" in the mission, Foreign Policy reported that jets took off from the Sha’irat airbase less than 24 hours after the missile attack. 

    According to Mattis, the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces "lost the ability to refuel or rearm aircraft at Sha’irat airfield and at this point, use of the runway is of idle military interest." 

    U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis addresses a news conference during a NATO defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, February 16, 2017.
    © REUTERS/ Francois Lenoir
    U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis addresses a news conference during a NATO defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, February 16, 2017.

    One estimate provided by GlobalFirePower.com indicates that the Syrian armed forces maintain 461 total aircraft. Thus, on Mattis’ account, the strike resulted in the elimination of about 92 aircraft. 

    The Pentagon estimated that "the strike resulted in the damage or destruction of fuel and ammunition sites, air defense capabilities, and 20 percent of Syria’s operational aircraft."

    The US Navy’s launch of 59 tomahawk cruise missiles took place from two destroyers in the Mediterranean Sea. The missiles alone rang up a bill of about $83 million, Sputnik reported

    Mattis ended his statement with language that could escalate tensions and violence between regional players in Syria. "The Syrian government would be ill-advised ever again to use chemical weapons."

    The Syrian government has denied allegations that it conducted a chemical attack on its own people. Rather, Syrian officials say Syrian jets struck a rebel weapons depot where opposition forces had been producing deadly nerve gases. 

    Mattis says the strike "was a measured response."

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    Tags:
    missile strike, US Navy, James Mattis, Bashar al-Assad, Syria
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