US, French And UK Coalition Forces Hit Syria With An Incredible Amount Of Firepower

Ryan Pickrell | China/Asia Pacific Reporter

The U.S., U.K., and France sent Syria a “very strong message” Saturday morning, hitting targets with more than twice the firepower used against the Assad regime in 2017, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Friday evening.

More than 100 missiles fired from air and sea rained down on targets associated with Syria’s chemical weapons program immediately after President Donald Trump announced that the U.S., in concert with its allies, would punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for his alleged involvement in a deadly chemical weapons attack earlier in April.

Here’s what the Americans, British and French brought to the fight:

U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers participated in the Saturday morning strike on Syria, defense officials confirmed to CNN. This particular military aircraft, while it is no longer nuclear capable, carries the largest conventional munitions payload of any Air Force bomber and is able to launch stand-off JASSM cruise missiles carrying a 1,000-pound warhead. U.S. bombers fired multiple JASSMs during the strike, according to the Pentagon.

American air assets were accompanied by hard-hitting naval units, specifically two Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers and a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, the Department of Defense revealed Saturday. These vessels carry dozens of Tomahawk cruise missiles able to strike targets over one thousand miles away.

The Pentagon revealed that U.S. ships were also aided by a Virginia-class submarine.

France launched cruise missiles from a frigate in the Eastern Mediterranean, according to the Pentagon. The naval unit was supported by an unknown number of French Rafales and Mirages. The British sent Tornadoes and Typhoons into the fight, targeting Syrian assets with Storm Shadow cruise missiles.

The coalition forces struck three main targets in Syria Saturday, including a scientific research center in Damascus dedicated to the development of chemical weapons, a chemical weapons production and storage facility near Homs, and a command and control center located near the second target, the Pentagon revealed Friday.

It is unclear at this time how much damage Syrian installations sustained in the attack. Syria claims that it was able to “absorb the attack,” but the damage reports from Syria are unreliable.

Update: This piece has been updated to include information provided by the Pentagon.

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