- US President Donald Trump ordered air strikes against Syrian targets over the weekend.
- The attack was intended to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad and his government’s reported and deadly use of chemical weapons.
- Satellites photographed the region from space before and after the airstrikes.
- New satellite images show the devastation to a Syrian research facility allegedly involved in Assad’s chemical-weapons program.
Late Friday night, the US military launched Tomahawk missiles against Syrian locations allegedly involved in the production, storage, and use of chemical weapons.
Syrian President Bashar Assad and his government are suspected of having used nerve-agent and chlorine gases against people living in Douma, Syria, on April 7, killing dozens and injuring hundreds of men, women, and children.
In response, President Donald Trump ordered Friday’s strike, which caused devastation to bunkers, storage facilities, and research centres.
“It was done on targets that we believed were selected to hurt the chemical weapons program,” Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said following the attack. “We confined it to the chemical weapons-type targets.”
Satellites in space, including DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-3 observatory, photographed the aftermath – but clouds obscured several early images.
However, the satellite-imaging company released new images on Monday that clearly show the Barzah Scientific Research Facility in Damascus, Syria, on April 15, 2018.
“Today’s image provides a better, clear look at the complex,” a representative for DigitalGlobe told Business Insider in an email.
Use the slider below to compare two space-based views of the research center, from Friday, before the strike, and Sunday, after the strike.
The new image shows that several large buildings on the campus were destroyed by missiles.
The surgical precision of the missiles is apparent, given the number of nearby buildings left standing.
‘Nothing is for certain’
The US-led attack took place in coordination with France and the UK, and it involved 105 missiles from the three countries. That’s almost twice the number Trump used to attack Syrian air fields in April 2017.
Estimates suggest the trilateral attack, with a cost of about $US1.4 million per missile, cost at least $US147 million.
Trump launched the strike without authorization from Congress, despite his frequent past criticisms of former President Barack Obama for establishing a “red line” in 2013 for striking Syria. (Obama reportedly never followed through to ensure the Iran nuclear deal succeeded.)
“What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict? Obama needs Congressional approval,” Trump tweeted on August 29, 2013.
Among recent presidents, including Obama and Trump, launching air strikes is common and not necessarily illegal – if part of limited, one-off attacks.
When reporters asked Mattis if the air strikes will dissuade Assad and his regime’s use of chemical weapons, he said “nothing is certain in these kinds of matters.”
Michelle Mark and Sonam Sheth contributing reporting to this post.
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