NPR新闻:U.S. And Allies Launch Airstrikes On Syria



The U.S. says its strikes on Syria's chemical weapons facilities accomplished their objective. Last night, U.S., French and British forces launched more than a hundred missiles at three targets. Russia says 71 of those missiles were shot down by Syrian air defenses. The U.S. says all weapons reached their targets. Here's Marine Lieutenant General Ken McKenzie at the Pentagon today.


LT. GEN. KEN MCKENZIE: This strike aimed to deliver a clear, unambiguous message to the Syrian regime that their use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians is inexcusable and to deter any future use of chemical weapons.

SIMON: NPR's Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman joins us. Tom, thanks for being with us.

TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Good to be with you.

SIMON: What more do we know about the weapons that were used and the result that the Pentagon professed?

BOWMAN: Well, you just heard from General McKenzie. He said 105 missiles were used. They were shot by the U.S., the British and the French from ships in the Mediterranean, in the Red Sea and also aircraft as well. And he said the missiles, every one, successfully hit every target. There were three targets, of course. There was a research facility - research and development. There was a weapons depot and then a command center. And they showed pictures before and after, and each of those facilities were destroyed.

SIMON: What was the extent of the Syrian military response?

BOWMAN: Well, as you just said, the Syrians and the Russians claim that most of those missiles were shot down by Syria. General McKenzie said that they shot roughly 40 ground-to-air missiles during the attack, and not one of those Syrian missiles had any effect on any of the incoming missiles fired by the U.S. and its allies. And what General McKenzie said was, you know, it was probably more of a danger shooting those missiles to Syrian civilians because once they go up, they have to come down.

SIMON: There was so much concern about what the Russian response might be. What can we tell - because they have such military assets in the region and in Syria, and even Damascus - what were they doing during the attack?

BOWMAN: Oh, they weren't really doing anything. And, of course, as we know, the U.S. contacted the Russians for the deconfliction line because both militaries operate in the country. They talked with each other to make sure there are no mishaps, no accidents. So the Russians knew something was up. They knew the area the U.S. was coming in. And the U.S. said, we didn't coordinate anything with the Russians. But by virtue of the fact where they were operating, the Russians clearly knew this was an attack against chemical facilities.

SIMON: And, of course, a chemical attack that the Russians and the Syrians continue to deny. The U.S. and Britain and France continue to offer what kind of evidence that it occurred?

BOWMAN: Well, the Pentagon today said, we have strong evidence. And I pressed them on that. I said, are you going to share the evidence? And they indicated it had to do with intelligence. And at this point, they're not sharing anything. There's no - even if they have strong evidence, they're not sharing it with anyone.

SIMON: NPR's Tom Bowman at the Pentagon. Thanks so much.

BOWMAN: You're welcome, Scott.

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