Early Saturday morning, the U.S., France and the U.K. launched more than 100 missiles targeting three chemical weapons sites in Syria. In a press briefing at the Pentagon Saturday, Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. confirmed the three distinct targets — a research facility, a weapons depot and a command center.
Images from the satellite imagery company DigitalGlobe now appear to show at least two of these three sites — the Barzeh Research and Development Center and the Him Shinshar chemical weapons storage complex — before and after the strikes.
The Barzeh Research and Development Center, according to the Pentagon briefing, is located in the greater Damascus area. On this target, 76 missiles — 57 U.S. Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) and 19 joint air-to-surface missiles — were used in the strikes. “This is going to set the Syrian chemical weapons program back for years,” McKenzie said.
“We’ve successfully destroyed three buildings in metropolitan Damascus, one of the most heavily defended airspace areas in the world,” he added.
The Him Shinshar chemical weapons storage facility is located west of Homs, a city north of Damascus. The attack on this target involved 22 weapons: nine U.S. Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs), eight Storm Shadow missiles, three naval cruise missiles and two Scout land attack cruise missiles.
The Him Shinshar chemical weapons bunker facility, located more than 4 miles (7 km) from the storage facility, was struck by seven Scout missiles.
These missile strikes were coordinated by the U.S., France and the U.K. in response to an alleged chemical attack by the Syrian government in Douma last week. As NPR’s Alexis Diao has reported, this is the second time the U.S. has launched missiles against Syria during the Trump presidency:
Syria says it had given up its chemical weapons in 2013. In 2017, the U.S. launched missiles against Syria following reports of a sarin gas attack. That attack, [Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White says], hit a Syrian military air base and was intended to focus on Syria’s ability to deliver chemical weapons. But last night’s attack was aimed at the “heart of enterprise,” the Pentagon said.
McKenzie says Syrian air defenses did not successfully engage any of the aircraft or missiles involved in the operation, and there was no indication that Russian air-defense systems were used.