At least 14 fighters, including Syrian Army troops and Iranian officers, were killed on Monday in missile strikes on a military airbase in Syria’s Homs province, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Syria and its ally Russia blamed Israel for the airstrikes on the T-4 airbase, also known as the Tiyas base, AFP reported.
Russian and Syrian forces said two Israeli F-15s had launched eight missiles at the military base. Three of them hit a western part of the airbase, and five were intercepted.
State-run agency SANA reported that the United States’ Tomahawk missiles were launched at the airbase, but the Pentagon denied any role in the attack. It said that the US was not conducting any airstrikes in Syria at the moment, CNN reported. “However, we continue to closely watch the situation and support the ongoing diplomatic efforts to hold those who use chemical weapons, in Syria and otherwise, accountable,” the Pentagon said.
News of the missile strike came hours after US President Donald Trump warned of consequences to a suspected chemical attack in a rebel-held town of Douma on Saturday. He had blamed the Syrian regime and Russia for the attack and said there would be a “big price to pay”.
At least 70 people died in the suspected chemical attack in Douma. Rescue workers said they found dozens of people dead inside their homes and several others foaming at the mouth and several who showed symptoms consistent with exposure to a compound containing a nerve agent. Russia and Syria have both denied the use of chemical weapons in the strike.
Trump’s statement came a year after the US carried out targeted missile strikes in Syria in response to the deadly chemical attack that killed dozens in the country’s rebel-held Idlib province. Six Syrian Army troops were killed in the attack. At least 80 civilians were killed in the sarin gas attack in Idlib’s Khan Sheikhoun town.
France has also denied being behind the airstrikes on the T-4 military base. After Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron had threatened a strong response to the suspected chemical attack in Douma.
Moreover, the United Nations Security Council is expected to discuss the crisis in Syria later on Monday.