ISI released their battle damage assessment of the strike on a Syrian air base which both confirms and refutes the Russian propaganda version released earlier Friday.
An ImageSatIntl satellite image presented by Fox News Friday afternoon shows 44 targets were hit.
The damage assessment refutes the Russian claim that only 23 missiles made it to their targets, but does confirm that the runway was left intact. Why?
Secretary of State Tillerson conceded Friday that the runway was still in use but said that the airstrip was not a target because of its structure. He said the strikes were successful and that they took out 20 Percent of the 7th wing of the Syrian air force.
The runway wasn’t filled full of massive craters because the Block IV TLAM-E Tomahawk missiles’ 1,000-pound unitary charge isn’t very good at rendering runways inoperable. Each TLAM could make an oversized pothole in the runway that any city street crew could fix in an afternoon. For that reason, targets were chosen that could be effectively destroyed with the ordinance chosen.
The guided missiles were chosen to eliminate the possibility of American losses. Any airstrike involving the manned aircraft needed to drop anti-runway munitions would run the risk of losing pilots and aircraft.
While many paint the attack on the airbase as minimally effective, readers should remember that the goal was not to shut down the air base for a prolonged time. The attack was a message to Syria’s president Assad that any use of weapons of mass destruction will be answered – a change from the previous U.S. administration.
With the goal being a message and that zero casualties were incurred, this attack achieved the objectives of the strike even though the damage assessment images aren’t as catastrophic-looking as some would like.