The US Navy’s USS Porter and USS Ross guided-missile destroyers fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the Mediterranean Sea at Syria’s al-Shayrat airfield early on Friday, in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack on April 6 that Washington insists was carried out by Syrian fighter jets operating from the base.
On Sunday, Trump, who ordered the attack without consulting Congress, gave a call to Commanders Russell Caldwell and Andria Slough, leaders of the two warships respectively, thanking them and their crew for their “professionalism and quick response.”
Earlier in the day, Trump had congratulated the US Navy for the attack, praising the country’s “great military men and women for representing the United States, and the world, so well in the Syria attack.”
While the US claims that the attack was highly successful and achieved all of its objectives, Russian and Syrian defense officials have raised doubt about its effectiveness.
The Russian Defense Ministry noted shortly after the US attack that only 23 missiles had landed on the airbase and the rest had missed. This is a significant loss for the US military because, according to the Pentagon, each Tomahawk missile has an estimated cost of over $1.8 million.
Russia also disputed Washington’s claims that 20 Syrian jets were destroyed in the attack, lowering the figure to 6. Some Russian media reports bumped up the number to 9 later on.
The attack did not seem to do much damage to Syria’s air power, which is reportedly comprised of more than 450 Russian-made jet fighters, including Mig-23, Mig-25 and Mig-29 military aircraft.
The attack came after the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s many victories against the militant groups. Syria reportedly used the air base a day after the attack to launch new airstrikes against terrorist positions across the country.