With the US-UK strike on Syrian chemical weapons facilities over, and the sun having risen over the results, it is now possible to analyze the effects and consequences of the attack.
Firstly, it is worth noting that this attack could have been far worse. 120 missiles is very little compared to the military strength of the Syrian government. The US and its allies could have undertaken a sustained, weeks-long campaign to destroy Syria’s Air Force, an action which would have significantly damaged the Syrian government’s ability to maintain control over its territories. Instead, the US opted for a “limited strike.
The attack was not small however, with 112 Tomahawk and 8 Storm Shadow cruise missiles fired at long range from Jordan and the Mediterranean at Syria. Only a few locations were struck, with most Syrian airbases left untouched. The damage which was inflicted was not extensive, and can be repaired with time and effort. In addition, Syrian air defenses shot down multiple cruise missiles, reducing the ultimate damage done.
The Syrian Army is a vast military machine. Having been bolstered by Russian supplies and weapons, their military is much stronger than it ever was over the past few years. The large majority of the country is under government control, and there are fewer and fewer frontlines with which the rebels can fight against the government.
This strike did not damage the Syrian military machine. It was only intended to do damage to chemical weapons research, production, and storage facilities, and these were the main targets struck. As such, the Syrian Army is likely to continue to advance against hostile factions unimpeded by American intervention.
The next military operation the Syrian Army will untertake is the offensive to capture the al-Yarmouk Palestinian Refugee Camp. This operation is likely to succeed, as the pocket of ISIS control has been besieged and cut off from foreign aid.