By Bijan Razzaghi
The April 13th strike on Syria was directed at Assad regime targets including 2 chemical weapons storage facilities and a research center. The targets were struck by a combination of Tomahawk Cruise Missiles (TLAM) and stand off missiles fired from GR4 Tornadoes, Rafales and B-1Bs.
The missiles used include the Strom Shadow missile, which has a range of 250 miles and the AGM-86 JASSM, which has a range of 230 miles. These missiles were likely used to circumvent Syria’s advanced air defense network, which includes the Pantsir and BUK missiles systems. The stand off missiles can be fired from well outside of Syrian airspace and out of range of the surface to air missiles.
It was also reported that F-16Cs and F-15Cs were airborne around the same time of the operation. These aircraft were likely deployed to provide air cover for the B-1Bs outside of Syrian airspace. F-16Cs can deploy the AGM-88 HARM anti radar missile that is designed to engage Surface to air missile radars. Syria claims to have shot down some of the missiles, although it is possible for those systems to shoot down stand off missiles it is unlikely as the Department of Defense reported all missiles hit there targets successfully.
As the situation develops it is likely Russian air defense forces will remain on high alert over the next 48 hours. So far there has been no response from Pro Assad forces. US troops embedded with SDF are increasingly vulnerable to such attacks.