The western alliances’ arsenal included US warships and B1 stealth bombers, French Navy vessels, Rafael and Mirage warplanes, and British Tornado fighter jets. Tomahawk cruise missiles leveled the Mezze military airbase southwest of Damascus. Reportedly, Iran-made Zolfaqar & Qiam missiles, along with their launchers, were destroyed in the strike.
North of Damascus, the Jibil Qasioun base, the intercepting facility for the Syrian army, which was modernized by Iran, and used as a base by the Lebanese Hezbollah, is destroyed according to reports.
US missiles targeted the Chemical Research Center near Damascus and the Barzeh military-research base, killing at least five Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Quds Force members, as indicated by reports.
Sources in Syria say that 90 percent of Iran’s IRGC Quds Force units evacuated all bases prior to the attack, but at least 15 IRGC Quds Force advisors were killed. Their bodies are believed to be missing.
Also according to sources, 40 Lebanese Hezbollah members and 35 Syrian military personnel were killed, and the attacks inflicted billions of dollars in damages to missile and arms depots in Homs, as well as military facilities in Hama, Mezze, and Jibil Qasioun.
That France and the United Kingdom took part in the attacks, makes it clear that the US and Europe are joined against Iran’s aggression.
Besides the political message, according to the Pentagon, Assad’s chemical arsenal is now crippled at least for years.
Trump warned that the US is ready to maintain pressure on Bashar Assad until he ends the process of killing his own people. Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN, said her country is ‘locked and loaded’ to strike again in response to any new chemical attack.
Trump came under criticism after he tweeted that the missiles “will be coming,” and giving away the element of surprise. Some say that the element of surprise is mostly used in single-stage attacks, such as the April 2017 US missile strike on the Al Shayeerat air base. That attack did not prevent the regime from resorting to further chemical assaults.
Observers believe that the IRGC’s military presence, and that of other militias in the region, may be the next focus of US policy in the region. The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Iran’s largest and most well organized opposition group, issued a statement following the attack. It called for the eviction of Iran’s “Revolutionary Guards and mercenaries from Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and other countries of the region. The mullahs’ regime is the main source of survival of Bashar al-Assad and the main source of terrorism and extremism and warfare in the Middle East and the vast sections of the world.”
Serious steps toward establishing peace and security across the region must include Washington placing crippling sanctions against Iran’s IRGC and the regime’s Central Bank. Together with pressures on the Iran nuclear deal, the West must support of the ongoing Iranian protests, as the Iranian people demand regime change.