Syria says suspected USA missiles fired at air base; Washington denies strike

Reuters

Syrian state TV initially said the United States was suspected of carrying out the attack on T-4.

President Trump recently told USA military leaders to begin making plans to withdraw troops from Syria, but a senior administration official told NBC that Trump reluctantly agreed to keep troops in Syria for an unspecified amount of time in order to defeat ISIS.

But Israeli officials said the Tiyas, or T-4, air base was being used by troops from Iran and that Israel would not accept such a presence in Syria by its arch foe.

"On April 9 from 03.25 to 03.53 Moscow time, two F-15 jets of Israeli Air Forces, without entering Syrian air space, from territory of Lebanon, fired eight guided missiles at Tiyas air base".

In a subsequent report, Fars said a third fighter called Mehdi Lotfi Niasar has been killed in the attack.

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, says most of the 14 killed were either Iranians or members of Iran-backed groups.

At the time of the weekend attack in Douma, Syrian government forces and their allies were in the midst of clearing the last pocket of rebel resistance in the eastern Ghouta region, where the town is located. "At this time, the Department of Defense is not conducting air strikes in Syria".

The medical relief organization Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) and the civil defense service, which operates in rebel-held areas, said in a joint statement 49 people had been killed in the suspected gas attack.

Syria's state news agency SANA initially said the attack on the T4 air base was likely "an American aggression", but the Pentagon denied involvement, and the agency then dropped the accusation, blaming Israel instead.

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Russian Federation is warning the USA against any "military intervention" in Syria over the government's alleged chemical attack against civilians this weekend, saying any such response would be "unacceptable" and lead to the "most serious consequences". The US Department of Defence, however, denied government forces had launched any chemical attack.

President Trump also condemned the Iranian regime and the Putin government for their support of the Assad regime. Although the agency said it was likely "an American aggression", US officials said the United States had not launched any airstrikes on Syria.

Russian and Syrian military officials have blamed Israel, saying Israeli warplanes struck the T4 air base while in Lebanese airspace in the early hours of Monday.

And a prominent Republican senator warned Trump that a failure to act now could leave him in a weakened posture internationally.

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

The Syrian government denied staging Saturday's suspected poison gas assault on Douma.

President Donald Trump meanwhile blasted Russian President Vladimir Putin and the government of Iran for backing Assad, whom Trump dubbed "Animal Assad", in the country's years-long civil war. The European Union also said evidence pointed to the use of chemical weapons by Assad's forces.

"The Secretary-General is particularly alarmed by allegations that chemical weapons have been used against civilian populations in Douma", a spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement.

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