Russian warship is en route to logistics depot in Syria
US investigating whether Russia was complicit in chemical attack on Syrian civilians
Syrian air force resumes flights from base that US attacked
New airstrikes targeted a town in Syria that was hit by a chemical attack earlier this week, activists said, less than a day after the US bombarded a Syrian air base to “send a message” to the Assad regime.
It wasn’t immediately clear who conducted the strikes on Khan Sheikhoun, which was hit on Friday and Saturday, though only Russian and Syrian regime aircraft have been bombing that area of rebel-held Idlib province.
The latest attacks come after a missile strike early Friday by the United States on a base in western Syria that the United States says was used to launch Tuesday’s chemical attack, which left more than 85 people dead and hundreds more injured.
The new strikes came as Russia, the Syrian regime’s main ally, sent a frigate armed with cruise missiles to a port in western Syria in an apparent show of force in response to the US action.
- The Syrian air force resumed flight operations at the base the US struck Friday.
- Pentagon investigating possible Russian involvement in chemical attack that prompted US strike.
- US officials say about 20 planes were destroyed in Friday’s attack on the Shayrat base.
- US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley tells United Nations the United States is “prepared to do more.”
- Russia says United States has no proof chemical weapons were used Tuesday.
At least one woman was killed and three other people were injured in Saturday’s strikes in Khan Sheikhoun, two activists in the town said. The strike that killed the woman happened in a residential neighborhood, activist Alaa Al-Youssef said.
It wasn’t clear from where the strikes were launched, but the Syrian air force resumed flight operations at the base the United States struck Friday, two pro-regime media outlets and an opposition group said Saturday.
A video on Instagram, posted Saturday by a reporter from the state-run Russia-24 outlet, purported to show a jet rolling down a tarmac at the air base. The caption reads: “Return to work at Shayrat.”
A US defense official said Friday’s strikes were not intended to damage runways or fully disable the base. Instead, the strikes hit aircraft, fuel storage, weapons dumps and other equipment, aiming to send a message to the Syrian regime that any use of chemical weapons would not be tolerated, the official said.
In the aftermath of the US strike, Russia pledged to help strengthen Syria’s air defenses. Russian state media reported that a frigate, the Admiral Grigorovich, would call at a logistics base at Tartus, Syria. It had earlier picked up supplies at the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk.
NATO called it one of the largest deployments from Russia in decades.
Retired US Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, a CNN military analyst, said the frigate appeared to be a show of force by Russia, which since late 2015 has been conducting airstrikes in Syria against forces opposing the Syrian regime.