The US leaves open the possibility to conduct new missile strikes on Syria in case of chemical attacks on civilians, White House spokesman Sean Spicer has said at a news conference.
“The sight of people being gassed and blown away by barrel bombs ensures that if we see this kind of action again, we hold open the possibility of future action,” Spicer stated.
The US attack was just not a message to Syria, but to other countries as well, Spicer added.
“Not just Syria, but the world saw a president who is going to act decisively.”
On April 6, US missiles struck Shayrat Airbase located in the Syrian province of Homs. Washington claimed it is where Syrian jets armed with alleged chemical weapons took off to launch an assault on a rebel-held town in north-western Idlib province on April, 4. Damascus has denied any such allegations.
The Syrian government noted that its Air Force attacked an arms depot where chemical weapons might have been stockpiled by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Al-Nusra Front militants.
The US strike destroyed 20 percent of Syria’s aircraft along with fuel and ammunition installations and air defense capabilities, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a statement.
A total of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched from US Navy ships stationed in the Eastern Mediterranean, but only 23 of them reached their targets, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
The majority of the victims killed in the US “retaliation” attack were local villagers, Homs governor Talal al-Barazi, said.
Fourteen people, including nine civilians, were killed in the bombardment, the official stressed.
Moscow emphasized that Syria had destroyed its chemical weapons stockpiles which was confirmed by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Russia has meanwhile called for an expert investigation into the chemical attack, saying, it is “the only way to receive and present to the whole international community any objective evidence on the alleged presence of poisonous substances.”