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Why was Shayrat airbase targeted and what is its military significance?

Shayrat Airfield in Homs, Syria is seen in this DigitalGlobe satellite image released by the U.S. Defense Department on April 6, 2017 after announcing U.S. forces conducted a cruise missile strike against the Syrian Air Force airfield. (Reuters)

The United States’ airstrikes on Thursday night targeting Shayart airbase was a response to the chemical attack that carried out on Khan Shaikhoun in the countryside of Idlib earlier this week.

According to Al Arabiya correspondent in Washington as the US believed that the attack was launched from that military base.
The attack on Khan Shaikhoun caused more than 100 deaths and 400 injuries, most of which appear to have suffocated with the Sarin gas.

According to several Syrian reports, the Shuayrat airbase is one of the most important military bases, where aircrafts are launched targeting Homs, Idlib and Hama. It is located 30 kilometers southeast of Homs. The military airport includes MiG 23, MiG 25 and Sukhoi Su 25 aircrafts, as well as SM-6 anti-aircraft missiles, air defense systems and radars.

Also read: Trump strikes Syria: Is this what the world was waiting for?

Ibrahim al-Idlibi, a media activist from the Syrian-Turkish borders, said in an interview with Al-Arabiya that this airbase had recently constituted a work center for a large number of Iranian consultants, adding that many of them had died in the American strike on Friday.

In a statement, he made for AFP, the governor of Homs who is loyal to the Syrian regime said, “This airbase is the main air support force of the Syrian military forces.”

Military analyst, Brigadier Asaad Awad al-Zohbi considered that these strikes are a strong message to the world, showing that the policy of US President Donald Trump is thoroughly different from his predecessor.

He pointed out that the strike would have been more effective if it had targeted three additional military airports that are important for the Syrian regime, namely, Dumayr, Seen and Hama.

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Last Update: Friday, 7 April 2017 KSA 12:43 - GMT 09:43
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