April 10, 2017 / 6:45 PM / 2 years ago

U.S. says strike hits 20 percent of Syria's operational aircraft

Battle damage assessment image of Shayrat Airfield, Syria, is seen in this DigitalGlobe satellite image, released by the Pentagon following U.S. Tomahawk Land Attack Missile strikes from Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, the USS Ross and USS Porter on April 7, 2017. DigitalGlobe/Courtesy U.S. Department of Defense/Handout via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. cruise missile strike on a Syrian air base last week damaged or destroyed 20 percent of Syria’s operational aircraft, as well as fuel and ammunition sites and air defense capabilities, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday.

“The Syrian government has lost the ability to refuel or re-arm aircraft at Shayrat airfield and at this point, use of the runway is of idle military interest,” Mattis said in a statement.

“The Syrian government would be ill-advised ever again to use chemical weapons.”

Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali

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