AAR- How the U.S. and Allies Attacked Syria

| April 15, 2018 | 28 Comments

syria rubble


President Trump’s outrage over another WMD attack by Syria’s President al-Assad was clear. For the second time in his presidency, the U.S. commander-in-chief commanded a reprisal.

While images of sick and dying civilians inundated global media all week, USS Winston Churchill sped toward the Mediterranean to join a flotilla of allied warships, including another U.S. warship, USS Donald Cook; both very capable Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers.

It was all a con.

Both vessels carry as many as 90 BGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles (TLAM)– the majority of weapons used in the Friday evening strike on Syria — neither ship actually fired a shot. Instead, they were stalking horses, a distraction from an assault Assad’s government could do little to defend itself against.

It worked. Pentagon officials on Saturday said they faced little resistance to their targeted attack on what they said were three Syrian chemical weapons facilities. Most of the Syrian countermeasures, including defensive ballistic missiles, were fired after U.S. and allied weapons hit their targets, Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie told reporters on Saturday.

“No Syrian weapon had any effect on anything we did,” McKenzie said. He described the joint U.S., French and U.K. strike as “precise, overwhelming and effective.”

As the strategy of how to respond developed, Trump appeared to telegraph his intentions with a tweet on April 11: “Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!”’ The Russians reacted by sortieing 11 warships from the Syrian port of Tartus.

Russian Ships Depart Tartus

In the White House, Trump met with military officials and made several calls to his French and British counterparts, President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Theresa May. Trump was presented with five large target options for potential strikes. The president listened as Pentagon chief Jim Mattis, Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Corps General Joe Dunford and other military leaders outlined the options.

Each potential target was discussed, and was determination was focused on limiting the risk of escalation by Russia. There was agreement among Trump’s top national security staff about conducting strikes, but debate about how hard to hit the Syrians. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley was reportedly especially blunt in her assessment of the Syrian regime. In a private meeting with Trump and national security officials earlier in the week, Haley was a leading voice pushing for a robust military response to the chemical weapons attack on humanitarian grounds.

Chairman JCS General Dunford told reporters Friday that the U.S. sought targets that would limit any involvement with Russian military forces in Syria, and reduce the risk of civilian casualties.

With the allies on board and USS Winston Churchill arriving in the Mediterranean region, the attack was nearly under way. As the president addressed the nation at 9 p.m. Washington time on Friday, a barrage of 105 U.S., U.K. and French missiles converged on Syria. They came from the Red Sea, the Arabian Gulf and the Mediterranean, homing in from three directions to overwhelm whatever missile defenses Assad’s regime might deploy. Russia’s advanced air defense system didn’t engage the allied weapons.

“A perfectly executed strike last night,” Trump tweeted early Saturday. “Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!”

The targets included a scientific research facility near Damascus, and two chemical weapons facilities outside the city of Homs, the US military said, though reports said the buildings had been evacuated in recent days.

Until next time…

Category: Syria

Comments (28)

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  1. Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

    The liberals are going crazy over the strikes, unlike when obama talked about the red line and his peeps were all for it. Different story for this administration though.

    • M1 Hound says:

      According to the liberals the proper course of action is: Warning, Red line in the sand, don’t you dare cross it, or else. Oh wait you crossed the line, but don’t worry, he is another Red Line in the sand, you better not cross this, I mean it, stay back, behave. Oh, you crossed the line again, Oh Well…….WTF…

      Now: You cross the line: BOOM x 105…….you betchem red rider.

  2. Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

    Forgot to mention that some of Trumps party and friendly media were not too happy about his ordering the strikes.

  3. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    Someone has posted some info on the first wave of air strikes here:


    Storm Shadow missiles seem to be the weapon of choice for the Brits and French in the attack.

  4. AW1Ed says:

    Not done yet:

    New Russian Sanctions

    Washington (United States) (AFP) – The United States will impose new sanctions on Russia over its Syrian ally’s alleged chemical attack, targeting companies that supplied the regime in Damascus, US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Sunday.

    “You will see that Russian sanctions will be coming down. Secretary (Steve) Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday, if he hasn’t already,” Haley said in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

    Get some, Nikki! Trump-Putin collusion? Oh please, that ship sank long ago.

  5. Ex-PH2 says:

    I must say that Nikki Haley is probably one of the most self-possessed, strong minded public women I’ve seen in a long time.

    Everything, in fact, that a female president should be.

  6. Frankie Cee says:

    Another sign that the adults are in charge once again. That excellent strategy did not come from the mind of someone who had never been to battle, but from a Warrior speaking to a C in C who would listen. The warfighting is no longer being micromanaged from the White House.

  7. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    WELL DAMNED DONE, and about that trash talk about how our missiles would be shot down? Meh, kinda like them talking shit about how they could detect an F-35 and the Israelis showed them how full of shit they were on that!

  8. borderbill (a NIMBY/BANANA) says:

    DO it. Let the lefty anti-American obamaites crap their diapers. Fuck ’em——HARD.

  9. SonOfaGun says:

    I’ll imagine Korea has been taking notes…

  10. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    What was the point of this raid again?

    It certainly has nothing to do with saving lives, it only involves the preferred method of how to kill civilians if I understand it correctly.

    Assad should stick to the methods that allowed him to kill somewhere between 350,000 and 500,000 because nothing was done about those killings.

    I guess the lesson for Assad is that it’s okay to shoot children, but not poison them. Here’s hoping he learns that important lesson after this attack.

    • AW1Ed says:


      Miss the comments? Hondo and 11B-Mailclerk pretty much put this to bed.

      • Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

        None of that changes my point, “it’s generally regarded as a huge escalation”…well only when it’s in a third world shithole where we risk little in enforcing our will. Assad will continue on merrily killing his own, until Moscow decides to take him out of that spot. Whoever they put in next won’t be much better. Perhaps initially but not long term.

        We’re not invading Syria, we are not interested in a proxy war with Russia. Beyond making a point about how they kill their own this raid was a big nothing burger.

        All it does is say, “don’t kill your people in an unapproved fashion.” That was my point, another meaningless piece of action promoted as something that was an example of our moral high ground.

        We decided that killing children at a family gathering via drone strike is an acceptable collateral damage outcome if we get the one guy we are looking to kill for whatever reason we are looking to kill them.

        We hardly possess the moral high ground.

        Understand I’m fine with all of that, if kids have to die better kids there than kids here.

        I just get tired of the pretense that our killing comes from a place of righteousness.

  11. Docduracoat says:

    You make some excellent points.
    Assad has been very bad and has laid siege to cities, starved populations, bombed hospitals and markets and killed or forced large numbers of civilians from their homes
    The main point is that the “advanced” western countries have declared chemical weapons to be especially heinous and forbidden.
    Yes, it is wrong to drop barrel bombs on civilians.
    But chemical weapons are over the line
    So this was a measured response
    I agree that our current drone war is counterproductive and “ signature strikes” that kill anyone who happens to be near our enemy are wrong.
    We are losing the war on terrorism because of these kinds of actions.
    But that is another conversation entirely

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