Washington DC (TMV) – There have been several significant military developments in the last few days: The U.S. retaliation against Syria’s heinous chemical weapons attack; the deployment of the Carl Vinson Strike Group towards waters off the Korean Peninsula amid high tensions over a possible sixth nuclear test by that country. Also, unconfirmed reports* of Chinese troop deployments on the North Korean border. Finally, U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
The following are excerpts from Department of Defense sources on these three topics:
U.S. Missile Strike on Syrian Air Base, “Measured Response”
The April 6 U.S. military missile strike that targeted Shayrat airfield in Syria was a measured response to Syrian President Bashar Assad regime’s April 4 chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a statement issued today.
President Donald J. Trump directed the strike to deter future use of chemical weapons and to show the United States will not passively stand by while Assad murders innocent people with chemical weapons, which are prohibited by international law and which were declared destroyed, Mattis added.
The Defense Department’s assessment is that the strike resulted in the damage or destruction of fuel and ammunition sites, air defense capabilities and 20 percent of Syria’s operational aircraft, the secretary said.
The Syrian government, he added, has lost the ability to refuel or rearm aircraft at Shayrat airfield and at this point, use of the runway is of idle military interest.
The Syrian government would be ill-advised ever again to use chemical weapons, Mattis said.
Carl Vinson Strike Group Departs Singapore for Western Pacific
Navy Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Command, yesterday directed the Carl Vinson Strike Group to sail north and report on station in the Western Pacific Ocean after departing Singapore April 8.
The Carl Vinson Strike Group, including the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, embarked Carrier Air Wing 2, guided missile destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer and USS Michael Murphy, and guided missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain, will operate in the Western Pacific rather than executing previously planned port visits to Australia.
The strike group will remain under the operational control of U.S. 3rd Fleet as part of the 3rd Fleet Forward initiative.
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Strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria Continue
Strikes in Syria
In Syria, coalition military forces conducted 18 strikes consisting of 35 engagements against ISIS targets:
— Near Abu Kamal, four strikes destroyed two ISIS pumpjacks and two wellheads.
— Near Tabqah, 14 strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit; destroyed five vehicles, two fighting positions and a vehicle bomb; and suppressed an ISIS tactical unit.
And, an additional seven strikes were conducted in Syria from April 7-8, which have been closed within the last 24 hours:
— On April 7 near Tabqah, six strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and suppressed five fighting positions, an ISIS tactical unit and a sniper team.
— On April 7 near Tanf, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed 10 fighting positions.
Strikes in Iraq
In Iraq, coalition military forces conducted nine strikes consisting of 54 engagements against ISIS targets, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:
— Near Mosul, five strikes engaged five ISIS tactical units; destroyed five fighting positions, five mortar systems, three medium machine guns and a vehicle; damaged 22 supply routes; and suppressed four mortar teams.
— Near Qaim, three strikes destroyed five fuel trucks and three explosives caches.
— Near Taji, a strike engaged an ISIS staging area, destroyed two ISIS-held buildings and damaged a supply route.