Navy

US Launches Cruise Missile Strike on Syria

On President Donald Trump's order, U.S. warships in the eastern Mediterranean on Thursday launched salvos of Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian air base in response to the deadly chemical attack on civilians in northwestern Syria, the Pentagon said.

Some 43 missiles were launched from the Navy's Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Porter (DDG-78) and USS Ross (DDG-71), a defense official said in a background briefing with reporters Thursday night at the Pentagon.

"Dozens of cruise missiles were launched," the official said, stopping short of any immediate assessment on the results of the missile attacks or the location of the air base that was the target.

The attack marked the first U.S. military action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has been supported by Russia.

Trump, who met Thursday with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the U.S. president's estate in Mar-a-Lago in Palm Springs, Florida, gave the order after a briefing earlier in the day with Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Adviser Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster.

Earlier, Trump had indicated that he was leaning towards a military response to the suspected nerve agent attack on Tuesday in northwestern Idlib province that killed at least 70, according to human rights and aid groups.

This story will be updated.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at richard.sisk@military.com.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawly@military.com.