US air strikes on Syrian airbase 'captured on video'

Amateur footage claims to show bombardment launched by President Donald Trump in response to alleged sarin attack on which left 80 dead

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The Independent Online

The moment President Donald Trump bombarded a Syrian air base with missile strikes has purportedly been captured in an amateur video published on Syrian television.

Broadcast on state-owned station ORTAS, the footage shows a string of explosions along a darkened skyline, before cutting to a daytime shot apparently showing the same scene. Smoke rises from the horizon, and an unseen cameraman sighs and says "praise God" in Arabic.

It reportedly shows a barrage of 59 Tomahawk missiles, fired from two US Navy vessels located in the Mediterranean Sea and targetting the Shayrat air base in the central city of Homs.

The first direct attack by the US against the Syrian Arab Army since the outbreak of civil war six years ago was launched in response to the Assad regime's alleged use of chemical weapons in a town near rebel-held Idlib.

More than 80 people reportedly died following the bombing in Khan Sheikhoun and hundreds more suffered symptoms consistent with reaction to a nerve agent, such as sarin. 

Syrian state media reports at least nine civilians died in the attack on the air base, including four children. At least six SAA soldiers were also reportedly killed, while images released on Russian TV show damage to runways and infrastructure.

Russian officials mocked the barrage as "extremely low" in effectiveness, claiming only 23 of the cruise missiles hit their target.

But the SAA said the damage was significant, and at least some of the images of unharmed warplanes circulating on social media appear to have been taken prior to last night's bombardment.

U.S. airstrikes on Syria, explained

Russian military personnel were present at the base, but no casualties have been reported. The Kremlin was informed the attacks would be taking place, via a hotline maintained between President Assad's key backers and the coalition led by the United States.

However, the attack has prompted Russia to suspend the memorandum put in place to prevent clashes between the two superpowers in Syrian airspace.