On April 6, the United States launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from destroyers based in the Mediterranean, targeting the Al Shayrat Airfield in Syria. The USS Ross (DDG-71) fired 36 of the missiles, while the USS Porter (DDG-78) fired the other 23 Tomahawks. Tomahawk missiles have a range of 1,250-2,500 km and have been an integral facet of the United States’ missile arsenal for nearly three decades.
The attack comes days after the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad allegedly used chemical weapons against Syrian civilians, eliciting broad international condemnation. President Trump commented on his decision to launch the missiles, saying that “tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the air field in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched… it is in this vital national security of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.” Although the attack on the airbase, which the Syrians operate jointly with the Russians, has received approval from several U.S. allies abroad, Russia has expressed disapproval, calling it “an act of aggression against a sovereign state” that “dealt a serious blow to Russia-US relations.”