Syrian Jets Launch Strike Missions from Targeted Base

Jets launched from Sharyat air base near Homs Friday afternoon for strikes inside that country, less than 24 hours after 59 US Tomahawk missiles damaged the airfield. Sharyat is where Syria launched the April 4 gas attack that killed more than 100 civilians and prompted the US strike. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it was Sukhoi jets that participated on the strike on targets near Palmyra, but it could not confirm if they were Russian or Syrian aircraft, Agence France-Presse reported. Pentagon photos of the aftermath of the strike showed destroyed and damaged aircraft shelters, but the airfield itself was left intact. The undamaged air strip allowed two untargeted aircraft to launch for a strike mission Friday afternoon. Syrian officials told AFP they were warned in advance of the strike, allowing them to move aircraft away from the air base. Russian President Vladimir Putin immediately denounced the strike, and announced that as of midnight Friday it was suspending its involvement in a memorandum of understanding that has been in place since 2015 to avoid potential in-flight incidents, The Washington Post reported. This agreement centered on the use of a hotline between the US combined air operations center and Russian officials that was used daily to avoid potential mishaps. The US strike was largely praised by Western nations and NATO, with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg saying in a statement that the Syrian regime “bears full responsibility” for the strike.