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Before-And-After Satellite Photos Reveal Aftermath Of US Strikes On Syria's Chemical Weapons Sites
The United States, Britain, and France conducted "precision strikes" on Syria on Friday in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack that reportedly killed dozens in the rebel-held town of Douma.
The Pentagon said the strikes hit three targets believed to have been involved in creating chemical weapons.
The sites included the Barzah Research and Development Center near Damascus and the Him Shinshar chemical weapons complex near Homs.
The U.S. military said the strikes "destroyed" Him Shinshar's chemical weapons storage facility and damaged the chemical weapons bunker.
Defense Secretary James Mattis said "nothing is certain" when asked whether he believed the strikes would deter Syrian President Bashar Assad from using chemical weapons again.
"It was done on targets that we believed were selected to hurt the chemical weapons program. We confined it to the chemical weapons-type targets," he said.
Here are satellite photos showing what the sites looked like before and after the strikes:
The Him Shinshar chemical weapons bunker
The Him Shinshar chemical weapons storage site
The Barzah Research and Development Center
Read more from Business Insider:
- Russia claims it intercepted 71 out the 105 cruise missiles over Syria — the U.S. says none were shot down
- Photos of U.S., UK, and French military strikes show just how close missiles got to Syria's capital city
- The UN Security Council rejects Russia's resolution to condemn the U.S.-led strikes on Syria
- 'Mission Accomplished!': People are roasting Trump for using an infamous Bush-era phrase after the Syria strikes
- Here are the Tomahawk missiles the U.S. fired at Syria in joint strikes with the UK and France
(Reuters) - In the summer of 2004, U.S. soldier Greg Walker drove to a checkpoint just outside of Baghdad's Green Zone with his Kurdish bodyguard, Azaz. When he stepped out of his SUV, three Iraqi guards turned him around at gunpoint.
As he walked back to the vehicle, he heard an AK-47 being racked and a hail of cursing in Arabic and Kurdish. He turned to see Azaz facing off with the Iraqis.
"Let us through or I'll kill you all," Walker recalled his Kurdish bodyguard telling the Iraqi soldiers, who he described as "terrified."
He thought to himself: "This is the kind of ally and friend I want."
The US military quietly pulled 2,000 troops out of Afghanistan over the past year without a peace deal
The U.S. military has pulled about 2,000 troops from Afghanistan over the past year, the top U.S. and coalition military commander said Monday.
"As we work in Afghanistan with our partners, we're always looking to optimize the force," Army Gen. Austin Miller said at a news conference in Kabul. "Unbeknownst to the public, as part of our optimization … we reduced our authorized strength by 2,000 here."
"I'm confident that we have the right capabilities to: 1. Reach our objectives as well as continue train, advise, and assist throughout the country," Miller continued.
The New York Times was first to report that the U.S. military had reduced its troop strength in Afghanistan even though peace talks with the Taliban are on hiatus. The number of troops in the country has gone from about 15,000 to 13,000, a U.S. official told Task & Purpose on condition of anonymity.
Separately, the U.S. military is considering drawing down further to 8,600 troops in Afghanistan as part of a broader political agreement, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters on Oct. 19.
"We've always said, that it'll be conditions based, but we're confident that we can go down to 8,600 without affecting our [counterterrorism] operations, if you will," Esper said while enroute to Afghanistan.
So far, no order has been given to draw down to 8,600 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the U.S. official said.
After President Donald Trump cancelled peace talks with the Taliban, which had been expected to take place at Camp David around the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. military has increased both air and ground attacks.
In September, U.S. military aircraft dropped more ordnance in Afghanistan than they have since October 2010, according to Air Force statistics.
However, the president has also repeatedly vowed to bring U.S. troops home from the post 9/11 wars. Most recently, he approved withdrawing most U.S. troops from Syria.
On Monday, Esper said the situations in Syria and Afghanistan are very different, so the Afghans and other U.S. allies "should not misinterpret our actions in the recent week or so with regard to Syria."
DOHUK, Iraq/KABUL (Reuters) - The Pentagon is considering keeping some U.S. troops near oilfields in northeastern Syria alongside Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to help deny oil to Islamic State militants, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Monday.
U.S. troops are crossing into Iraq as part of a broader withdrawal from Syria ordered by President Donald Trump, a decision that allowed Turkey to launch an offensive against the SDF which for years was a U.S. ally battling Islamic State.