The Pentagon has said US-led strikes on Syria successfully hit every target, dealing a “severe blow” to President Bashar al-Assad’s alleged chemical weapons programme.
Lieutenant General Kenneth F McKenzie told reporters on Saturday the US joint military operation with Britain and France was aimed “at delivering a clear and unambiguous message” to the Bashar’s government over an alleged chemical weapons attack against civilians in the town of Douma last week.
Calling the suspected gas attack “inexcusable”, McKenzie said the US-led pre-dawn strikes targeted three suspected chemical weapons facilities inside Syria.
The raids were “precise, overwhelming and effective”, he said, and are “going to set the Syrian chemical weapons programme back for years”.
The US and its allies deployed a total of 105 cruise missiles, and all weapons “hit their targets very close to the designated time on target” and were “able to overwhelm Syria’s air defence systems,” the general said.
McKenzie’s remarks contradict an assessment by Russia’s military, a key ally of Assad.
Earlier in the day, Sergey Rudskoy, a lieutenant general in the Russian military, said Syrian air defence had intercepted 71 of the more than 100 missiles.
Assad, who denies the suspected chemical attack on Douma, told his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, a key ally, that the latest strikes increases his government’s resolve “to fight and crush terrorism in every inch” of the country.
Syria’s state-run SANA news agency has branded the US-led strikes a “barbaric act of aggression”.