America has launched airstrikes against a Syrian air base.

The US military fired more than 50 tomahawk missiles at the al-Shayrat military airfield near Homs on Thursday. Officials confirm that no fixed wing aircraft were involved, according to Daily Mail.

The move comes just hours after President Trump denounced this week's horrific chemical weapons attack as an "egregious crime", saying "it shouldn't have happened. And it shouldn't be allowed to happen."

Russia now has more than 30 helicopters operating in Syria, including a fleet of around eight Mi-28N Night Hunter and Ka-52 Alligator gunships stationed at its Shayrat airbase southeast of Homs city, according to satellite images posted online by IHS Jane's analysts.


Trump had been weighing up the possibility of launching military strikes against Syria, after 72 were killed and countless more were injured in the sarin poison gas attack.

CNN reported that Trump had been "making calls to senior members of Congress saying he is seriously considering something he said he would never do, not that long ago, which is military action in Syria."

"What Assad did is terrible," the president told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Florida, before he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping this evening.

"I think what happened in Syria is a disgrace to humanity. I guess something should happen."

Secretary of state Rex Tillerson told reporters Thursday that the U.S. had already been exploring the enlistment of an international coalition to oust Syrian Presidnt Bashar al-Assad.

He also described a long-term effort to remove the Syrian leader from power.

"The process by which Assad would leave," Rex Tillerson told reporters, "is something that I think requires an international community effort, both to first defeat ISIS within Syria, to stabilize the Syrian country to avoid further civil war, and then to work collectively with our partners around the world through a political process that would lead to Assad leaving."

Asked if he and Trump planned to organize such a group of nations, Tillerson paused and then said: "Those steps are underway."


Trump also said aboard Air Force One that reports that he has told members of Congress about a plan for military action were inaccurate, according to a television pool report.

CBS News describes a military briefing in Trump's future as a discussion between the president and Defense Secretary James Mattis that will include talk of cruise missile strikes from U.S. Navy vessels, possibly aimed at command and control headquarters, suspected chemical weapons facilities - and even Syrian military troops.

A Trump administration official who was granted anonymity in order to speak freely told on Thursday that part of the president's strategy is to "telegraph to Assad - and to Russia - that he's deadly serious."

It also may be intended to rattle a saber in the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose army also operates out of Syria in defense of Assad's regime.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is scheduled to meet with Putin next week in Moscow.

Trump said Wednesday during a Rose Garden press conference with Jordan's King Abdullah that his view of how to handle the Syrian crisis changed when he saw the impact of the "heinous" chemical attack on small children.

"Yesterday's chemical attack, a chemical attack that was so horrific in Syria against innocent people, including women, small children and even beautiful little babies - their deaths were an affront to humanity," Trump said.