President Donald J. Trump yesterday made congratulatory calls to the commanding officers of the two Navy destroyers whose personnel executed the April 6 missile strike against the Shayrat Air Base in Syria, according to a White House statement.
Trump thanked Cmdr. Andria Slough of the USS Porterand Cmdr. Russell Caldwell of the USS Ross and their crews for their speed, precision and effectiveness in carrying out the operation against the airfield from whichU.S. Central Command said was directly tied to the April 4 chemical weapons attack launched against civilians by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The strike was conducted using Tomahawk missiles launched from the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.
During a briefing today at the Pentagon, Centcom spokesman Army Col. John Thomas said that 59 missiles targeted aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems and radars.
“We didn’t crater the runway; we were not trying to make the airfield long-term inoperable. What we did was degrade the Syrians’ ability to carry out chemical weapons attacks from that base in the short term,” Thomas told reporters.
He said the strike blew up “tens of thousands of gallons of fuel” and “destroyed or rendered inoperable” more than 20 aircraft.
“What we didn’t strike were any areas that we believed Russian soldiers were operating out of,” Thomas added, “and we didn’t strike what we believe was the munitions area where there may have been chemical weapons so we wouldn’t create a plume [of toxic gases] or any further damage or harm to personnel.”
After the strike, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve commander Army Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend positioned and called-in resources needed for force protection “in case anybody wanted to take retaliatory actions,” Thomas said.
Also in Syria, coalition forces and partnered vetted Syrian opposition forces repelled an attack by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria of a partnered military base in southern Syria on April 8, according to a CJTF-OIR news release.
ISIS initiated the attack on the Tanf garrison near the Syria-Jordan border with a vehicle bomb, and that 20 to 30 ISIS fighters, some wearing suicide vests, followed with a ground assault, the release said.
Coalition and partnered forces defended against the attack with direct fire before multiple coalition airstrikes destroyed enemy assault vehicles and killed fighters with multiple coalition airstrikes.
Along with close air support, the coalition provided ground and medevac support, Thomas said.
“The vetted Syrian opposition repulsed a coordinated, complex attack,” he added. “Three partner-force soldiers were killed in that engagement, but it was successful in defeating dozens of attackers in that area.”
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
April 10, 2017
Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Call with the Commanding Officers of the USS Ross and USS Porter
Yesterday, President Donald J. Trump called Commander Andria Slough, Commanding Officer of USS Porter, and Commander Russell Caldwell, Commanding Officer of USS Ross, to thank them and their personnel for successfully executing the strike against the Shayrat Air Base in Syria, the location the regime of Bashar al-Assad used to launch a heinous chemical weapons attack against innocent civilians. The President commended the two commanders and their crews for the speed, precision, and effectiveness with which they carried out the operation. The President communicated that, as the Commander in Chief, he could not be more proud of the crews of USS Porter and USS Ross and their flawless execution of the operation.
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