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A US Navy destroyer fires a Tomahawk missile Thursday night, targeting a Syrian air field. Defense Department photo

US Navy ships at 8:40 p.m. EDT Thursday fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Syria, targeting the airfield that launched Tuesday’s gas attack. The missiles hit the Shayrat airbase in Homs province, targeting aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply, bunkers, air defense systems, and radars, in an attempt to damage Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s air force and his ability to target rebels following the gas attack. The strike originated from the USS P​orter and USS Ross off the coast of Syria in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. President Trump said late Thursday the strike is in response to the “horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians. … Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women, and children.” Trump said in brief remarks at Mar-a-Lago, Fla., late Thursday, “It is in this vital national security interest of the US to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.” Syrian state media in response to the attack called it an act of “aggression,” according to The Associated Press. Russian troops were reportedly stationed at the base before the strike. The US informed Russia about the strike beforehand to avoid Russian casualties. The Pentagon late Thursday was assessing the results of the strike. “The strike was a proportional response to Assad’s heinous act,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement. Shayrat Airfield was used to store chemical weapons and Syrian air forces. … The strike was intended to deter the regime from using chemical weapons again.”