The Syrian air defense was able to successfully shot down 46 cruise missiles that the US, France and the UK fired at it on April 14, a senior Russian military commander says, rejecting American claims that all of the missiles hit their targets.
On April 14, US President Donald Trump along with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, and British Prime Minister Theresa May authorized a joint missile attack against alleged chemical weapons manufacturing sites inside Syria.
The attack, carried out without a UN mandate in response to what the US and its allies insisted was a chemical attack by the Syrian government, saw 105 cruise missiles being fired at targets in Damascus and Homs.
"The reconnaissance and air defense systems’ recording data we have obtained, the work at the scene and polls of eye-witnesses show that the Pantsyr, Osa, Strela-10, Buk, Kvadrat and S-125 surface-to-air missile systems protecting the Syrian capital and the nearby Duvali, Dumayr, Bley and Mezze airfields of the Syrian Air Force destroyed 46 cruise missiles," the Russian General Staff’s Main Operations Department chief Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoi said on Wednesday.
According to Rudskoi, the flight paths of the missiles and the capabilities of the Syrian air defenses, which mostly depend on Russian technology, shows that they were destroyed in five interception areas located to the west and the east of capital Damascus.
The missiles were supposed to target a research center in Damascus, the headquarters of the Syrian Republican Guard, an air defense base, several military aerodromes and a number of army depots.
The attack lasted two hours and Syrian air defenses were able to intercept 71 of the missiles in total.
There are unconfirmed reports that suggest Syrian military forces have discovered two unexploded missiles and handed them over to their Russian peers for further examination.
It was not clear whether the discovered missiles were American Tomahawks or Scalp/Storm Shadow, codenames for a cruise missile jointly developed by France and the UK.
However, there is a good chance that the missiles were fired by the US military as the UK and France only fired 20 missiles collectively.
Days before the attack, Trump had warned Russia, a key supporter of Damascus in the war against foreign-backed militants, that it should get ready to shoot down "nice and new and smart" US missiles over Syria.