Besides destroying a lot of military facilities and killing four Syrian soldiers, the Friday airstrike by the U.S. on Syria also was one step away from a United States clash with the Russian military. According to satellite imagery, the Shayrat air base hit by the 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles on Thursday night is home to Russian military choppers and special forces.

The Russian military equipment and personnel were stationed at the damaged air base as part of the Kremlin’s efforts to help the Syrian government, its close ally, to battle ISIS and other terror organizations.

The airstrike damaged a fuel depot, an air defense base and more than a dozen hangars, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights based in Britain.

Blazing inferno

Besides the airstrikes, ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump, damaging the Shayrat air base, four Syrian soldiers died in the attack. One of them was a general. More than one hour after the cruise missiles destroyed the military facilities, the air base was still a blazing inferno, according to Talal Barazi, governor of Syria’s Homs province, New York Post reported. He added that evacuation of injured Syrians from the damaged air base continues.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev joined Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom Trump wanted to step down from power for “crossing the line” several times, in condemning the Cruise Missile strikes.

The prime minister said the air attacks were illegal, while Bashar said it was a reckless and irresponsible act, Time reported.

Outrageous act

Bashar said the outrageous act by Washington is a reflection of the “continuing American policy of ‘targeting’ people and states.” He said the airstrike only made Syria more determined to hit the agents of terror and continue crushing them.

The airstrike also damaged the close friendship that Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin enjoyed. It also apparently changed alliances and brought Trump closer to Chinese President Xi Jinping who was at the Mar-a-Lago golf resort of Trump when the airstrikes took place.

However, American officials said they informed Russian forces ahead of the airstrike to punish Syria for its use of sarin gas in Khan Sheikhoun, a town in Syria, which killed more than 80 people, including 23 children.

The air attack is a turnaround from Trump’s previous policy on Syria.

There are questions if Trump’s order is illegal because it lacked authorization from the U.S. Congress or the U.N. Security Council. However, Trump justified the operation as punishment for Syria’s breach of the ban on chemical weapons, according to the New York Times.