Fiery retaliation for Monday’s gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians in Syria
- US unleashes 59 cruise missiles on Syrian airbase
- Oil and gold prices surge
- Stock markets, US dollar slump
The US Navy blasted a Syrian airbase with 59 cruise missiles in fiery retaliation for Monday’s gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians in the north-western part of Syria. US officials say it was from the airbase where Syrian military planes that dropped the chemicals had taken off.
The Tomahawk missiles were launched from two warships – the USS Ross and USS Porter – stationed in the Mediterranean and hit the airbase at 3:45 on Friday morning. The missiles targeted the base’s airstrips, hangars, control tower and ammunition areas, officials said. No people were targeted and no casualties have yet been reported.
It was the first direct American assault on the Syrian government and Trump’s most dramatic military order since becoming president.
The decision to attack marked a stark reversal for Trump, who during his presidential campaign faulted past US leaders for getting embroiled in conflicts in the Middle East. But he said this week that the deaths of children among the at least 80 people killed in the gas attack, images of which were broadcast worldwide, changed his thinking.
“It was a slow and brutal death for so many,” Trump said. “Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered at this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.”
The strikes rattled global markets. Oil prices surged 2 per cent and safe-haven products like gold jumped, while stock markets and the US dollar slumped.
Syria decried the attack, calling it an “aggression” that led to “losses”.
Talal Barazi, the governor of Homs province, where the targeted airbase is located, told Al Arabiya TV that a fire raged for two hours in the base until it was put out.