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Russian Federation claims Israel behind Syria air base strike

10 April, 2018, 20:12 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Syrian media report missile strike on airbase in Homs

A Syrian monitoring group says a missile strike on a Syrian air base killed 14 people including Iranians early Monday.

President Donald Trump previously ordered missile strikes after a Syrian chemical attack last April.

Syria's state news agency says missiles have struck an air base in central Syria in the early hours of the day.

The US Pentagon said it was not conducting air strikes in Syria "at this time", formally denying the Syrian state television report.

"Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria".

Syrian state media, citing a military source, carried a similar report.

Syrian state TV meanwhile quoted the unnamed military official as saying Israeli F-15 warplanes had fired several missiles while flying over neighbouring Lebanon.

When asked about the assault, an Israeli spokeswoman declined to comment.

Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed militias have a large military presence in Syria and are well entrenched in central and eastern areas near the Iraqi border.

Housing Minister Yoav Galant, while also not confirming that Israel had carried out the attack, said: "We have clear interests in Syria".

"If it's Russian Federation, if it's Syria, if it's Iran, if it's all of them together, we'll figure it out", he said.

"In this context we are taking action with all means, over time". More than 1,000 Iranians have been killed in Syria's civil war, including senior members of the Guards.

The toll is likely to rise, said the Union of Medical Care Organizations (UOSSM), a group of worldwide aid agencies. However gaining access to samples on the ground would be hard.

Syrian state media are saying that dozens of civilians who had been held for years by a rebel group near the capital of Damascus have been set free.

The Syrian government launched a fierce air and ground assault on Douma, the last rebel-held town in the eastern Ghouta district, last Friday.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres's spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters: "While the United Nations is not in a position to verify these reports, the secretary-general notes that any use of chemical weapons if confirmed, is abhorrent, and requires a thorough investigation".

Nebenzia also said that investigators with the global chemical weapons watchdog should fly to Syria as early as Tuesday to look into accusations about the attack, offering them protection from Syrian authorities and Russian troops. Although the agency said it was likely "an American aggression", US officials said the United States had not launched any airstrikes on Syria.

The U.N. Security Council planned to hold an emergency meeting Monday to discuss the chemical attack.

United Nations war crimes investigators had previously documented 33 chemical attacks in Syria, attributing 27 to the Assad regime, which has repeatedly denied using the weapons.

Britain's permanent representative Karen Pierce said the situation today was worse than that during the Cold War because then there was no such flagrant disregard of the universal prohibition against chemical weapons. Dr. Muhammad, a doctor in Ghouta, said patients were coughing blood, a symptom not seen in previous chemical attacks.

The Syrian opposition blames the suspected chemical attack on Saturday in the town of Douma on regime forces.

It marks Assad's most significant victory over the rebellion against his rule since 2016, and underlines his unassailable position in the conflict.

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