The April 6 U.S. military missile strike that targeted Shayrat airfield in Syria was a measured response to Syrian President Bashar Assad regime’s April 4 chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a statement issued Monday.
President Donald J. Trump directed the strike to deter future use of chemical weapons and to show the United States will not passively stand by while Assad murders innocent people with chemical weapons, which are prohibited by international law and which were declared destroyed, Mattis added.
The Defense Department’s assessment is 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 secretary said.
The Syrian government, he added, has lost the ability to refuel or rearm aircraft at Shayrat airfield and at this point, use of the runway is of idle military interest.
The Syrian government would be ill-advised ever again to use chemical weapons, Mattis said.