Israel 'behind attack on Syrian airbase that killed Iranian soldiers'

Syria Reuters

A human rights group says a missile attack on an air base in Syria has killed 14 people of various nationalities.

Later in the day, the Russian Foreign Minister said that the missiles had been launched by two Israeli warplanes, while five out of eight strikes, carried out by the Israeli F-15 jets, were destroyed by Syrian air defenses.

Syria initially blamed the US for the strike.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the raid was a "very risky development".

The T-4 Air Base had reportedly been a headquarters for Iranian drones being used in support of the Syrian regime. The group's chief, Rami Abdel Rahman, said that forces from the Assad regime backers Russian Federation and Iran, as well as fighters from the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, are known to have presence at T-4.

On April 7, the Syrian army made advances against militants in the town of Douma, their last stronghold in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta. Earlier Iranian media reports said four personnel were killed.

An alleged chemical attack that left dozens dead in Syrias rebel-held town of Douma has sparked global outrage, with US President Donald Trump warning there would be a "big price to pay". The Israeli military had no immediate comment on Monday on the reported missile strike.

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The Iranian Foreign Ministry has denounced the attack, holding Israel responsible. The Israeli government has refused to acknowledge or deny the attack, although both the Russian and Syrian governments have directly accused it of responsibility. In a series of tweets, Trump held Russian Federation and Iran, Syrian President Bashar Assad's chief sponsors, responsible. "Big price to pay", he said.

The Eastern Ghouta area has been under rebel control for the past six years and completely surrounded by the government for almost five years, making it impossible to independently verify the accounts of a chemical attack.

Damascus and its allies have denounced the accusations, the government brushing them off as an "unconvincing broken record".

"This is an excuse for military action against Syrians and will definitely add to the complexity of the situation in this country and region".

As a result, Syrian President Bashar Assad feels free to use chemical weapons on his people again and again, one official said, calling Assad's behavior "a finger in the eye of the Americans, and a reason for us to worry".

Shrine defenders is a phrase that Iran uses for its advisers sent to Syria to aid the Syrian army against terrorists. It has investigated more than 70 cases of alleged toxic gas attacks in Syria since 2014. Iran "has consistently condemned use of chemical weapons by anyone (and) is itself the victim of their use by Saddam with United States support", Zarif wrote on Twitter, referring to chemical attacks during Iran's war with Iraq in the 1980s.

Ahmet Uzumcu, who heads the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said more evidence was being gathered "to establish whether chemical weapons were used". After the airstrikes were reported, however, Pentagon spokesman Christopher Sherwood said in a statement that "at this time, the Department of Defence is not conducting airstrikes in Syria".

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