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Syria unable to repel US air strike at Shayrat airbase — Russian expert

The Syrian air defense system covers separate facilities and, possibly, the Syrians did not have air defense missile systems around that base, Igor Korotchenko said

MOSCOW, April 8. /TASS/. Syrian Army could not repel the U.S. missile strike at the Shayrat airbase in the early hours of Friday, as the Syrian air defense system covers separate facilities and, quite possibly, the Syrians did not have air defense missile systems around that base, Igor Korotchenko, the editor-in-chief of the Moscow-based National Defense magazine told TASS.

"In the first place, the Syrians have island-like air defenses," he said. "This means that the units and weaponry systems them have cover separate facilities. They don’t have an integrated air defense net and I don’t rule out there were no air defenses around that base at all."

"Secondly, apart from Pantsyr (a surface-to-air and antitank missile system TASS) all other systems are outdated because they were manufactured back during the Soviet era and they stand in need of upgrading," Korotchenko said. "That’s why the Syrians couldn’t rebuff the strike meaningfully."

He voiced the confidence that more strikes might follow, saying: "America has unsealed Pandora’s box and has demonstrated once again its thinking in the categories of a global policeman. This line of logic may prompt Trump to make new ill-conceived steps."

Viktor Murakhovsky, the editor-in-chief of Arsenal Otechestva (the Arsenal of the Homeland) magazine, also does not rule out a possibility of more missile strike. The next volley of missiles will likely target the facilities where, according to U.S. surmising, the Syrians store chemical weapons.

"In the first place, these are airbases and the bases of permanent deployment controlled by the Syrian government forces," he said.

Korotchenko believes the launch of 59 Tomahawk missiles from aboard to destroyers might be a signal Trump was sending to China. "At the moment of the attack, Trump was hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping and this was clearly a graphic demonstration of force to China, since Trump said earlier China was among the apparent political contenders of the U.S."

Murakhovsky said on his part the Pentagon had warned the Russian side about the forthcoming strike. "Our commanders at Hmeymim (airbase) received a notification two hours prior to the strike that is was coming up because the Americans had the apprehensions that Russian servicemen might turn out on the Shayrat base."

"Now that we’ve suspended effectuation of the Russian-U.S. memorandum on prevention of dangerous incidents in Syrian airspace, we won’t be receiving any notifications from the Americans and that’s a strong signal to them that they should behave reasonably," he said.