Four Syrian soldiers have reportedly died in the missile strike carried out by the US on a military air base.At least four Syrian soldiers, including an officer, strike were killed at the al Shayrat airbase in missile strikes carried out by the US on Thursday.

The misstrike against Syria airbase marks the first time the United States has directly attacked the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Here is what we know so far about the target and the outcome of the strike.



The target

Around 8:40pm eastern time on Thursday, the US military fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at the Shayrat airfield near Homs in western Syria.

According to the Pentagon, the facility was used to store chemical weapons and Syrian aircraft.

The Tomahawks targeted aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defence systems and radars, the Pentagon said.

Pentagon spokesman Navy captain Jeff Davis said the strike lasted “a couple of minutes.”

US intelligence agents believe that aircraft from Shayrat conducted the chemical weapons attack on April 4.

National security advisor HR McMaster said measures had been put in place to avoid hitting sarin gas stored at the airfield. “So that would not be ignited and cause a hazard to civilians or anyone else,” McMaster said.

How it was launched

The strike was launched from the destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross in the eastern Mediterranean.

Russian forces were warned ahead of the strike using a special military-to-military hotline.

Davis said the strike was designed to avoid casualties. “Every precaution was taken to execute this strike with minimal risk to personnel at the airfield,” he said.

There was no immediate indication that Russia had tried to shoot down any of the missiles.

The result

According to the Pentagon, initial indications showed the strike had severely damaged or destroyed Syrian aircraft, infrastructure and equipment at Shayrat.

Davis said the runways themselves were not targeted.

US officials stressed the strike was a direct reaction to the chemical attack, and not the beginning of a broader military front against Assad. “The strike was aproportional response to Assad’s heinous act,” Davis said.

Legal concerns

The strike was launched at the order of US President Donald Trump and was a “proportional response to what was a violation of international war by the Assad regime,” Davis said.

But critics questioned whether the action amounted to a declaration of war and said Trump should have gone to Congress first.

America is currently hitting Islamic State targets in Syria under a2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). But attacking the government of a sovereign nation raises legal questions.

“President waging military action against Syria without a vote of Congress? Unconstitutional,” Democratic senator Tim Kaine wrote on Twitter.

Soon after the strike was announced, Trump told the media , “it is in the vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”

“Tonight I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria, and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types,” said Trump.

Talking about Tuesday’s chemical gets attack in Syria , trump said ,”Assad ch
oked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many-even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in the very barbaric attack .No child of god should ever suffer such horror”.

Trump had said on Thursday that something should happen with Assad as the white house and pentagon studied military options.