Here’s a telling map of the most likely strike targets in Syria

It's not exactly a secret that the United States and Britain are planning a likely campaign of limited, offshore strikes against Syria. It's not a secret that they're pushing to do it quickly, while international outrage over last week's suspected chemical weapons attack remains fresh.

And it's not even a secret what sorts of facilities the strikes are likely to target: military infrastructure. The Washington Post graphics team has mapped them out below, with helpful indicators of where U.S. and British forces are based and where Syrian rebels have a strong presence. Scroll below for some notes on the map and the likely strike targets.

It appears most likely that the primary purpose of the strikes would be to "punish" Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and his regime for their alleged use of chemical weapons, a ritual meant to deter him from using them again and, hopefully, do the same for any future military leader.

Some reports suggest that, as part of this, the strikes would also aim to degrade the Assad regime's ability to launch chemical weapons, although this is very difficult given that the regime is thought to have huge quantities and to move them around the country. It's unlikely that the strikes will target chemical weapons specifically, as this risks dispersing the chemical agents.

One thing you might notice is that, unlike with the Libya intervention of 2011, there are not a whole lot of military assets deployed around Syria. The Libya campaign was a big mission involving several air forces launching repeated strikes and enforcing a no-fly zone over a very big country. But what looks poised to happen in Syria is expected to be much more limited, likely restricted mostly or entirely to cruise missile strikes from offshore against stationary targets such as runways and military buildings. That's an important distinction to keep in mind, one that has implications for the campaign's more limited scope and possible results, and the map really drives it home.

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Caitlin Dewey · August 28, 2013

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