Saturday’s U.S.-French-British strike “overwhelmed” the Syrian air defenses and degraded the Assad regime’s chemical weapons capabilities, Pentagon leaders told reporters Saturday. Three facilities were targeted in the 4 a.m. strike, in which allied warships and -planes fired 105 weapons, including the first combat use of the Joint Air to Surface Standoff, or JASSM, missile, Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, Jr. said.
McKenzie said the Syrians responded by firing 40 surface-to-air missiles, most of them after the allied munitions had already struck their targets. The head of the joint staff called the defensive fire “materially ineffective” against the coalition forces, but said it likely did pose a threat to civilians on the ground. “It is likely that the regime shot many of these missiles on a ballistic trajectory – without guidance,” he said. “When you shoot iron in to the sky without guidance, it will inevitably fall to earth.”
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