Israeli airstrike on Syrian airbase kills 3 Iranians

Israeli airstrike on Syrian airbase kills 3 Iranians

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Monday that members of the Iranian military and Shia militias were at the base near the central city of Homs when it was attacked. At least 100 people were killed, including families found in their homes and shelters, opposition activists and local rescuers said.

The US launched several dozen Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian air base a year ago after a chemical attack in the northern Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun killed dozens of people. The Syrian state news agency also said that the missiles were fired by Israel from Lebanese airspace.

Damascus denied its forces had launched any chemical assault and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said such allegations were false and a provocation.

Unconfirmed reports also suggest the presence of Iranian forces at the base.

In the denial of United States involvement in Monday's attack, Pentagon spokesperson Christopher Sherwood said in a statement, "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 IDF has issued no official response to allegations that it was behind the Syria strike, which was apparently coordinated in advance with the United States, but not with Russian Federation despite the two countries having established a hotline to avoid clashes over Syria.

Israel has previously targeted Iranian units in Syria but did not comment on the latest strike. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied launching the attack.

Mr Trump had earlier taken to Twitter to issue a warning to Syrian and its allies.

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Russia's foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the US should target "terrorists" in Syria as opposed to its "legitimate government". Given the heightened tensions between Russia and the United States on other issues, Russian President Vladimir Putin may seize on U.S. strikes as an opportunity to leverage a confrontation and force the United States to the negotiating table, said Vladimir Frolov.

Earlier, President Donald Trump had promised a "big price to pay" for the suspected chemical attack.

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

A 2013 chemical attack in eastern Ghouta that killed hundreds of people was widely blamed on government forces.

Israel has repeatedly warned that it will not accept its arch-foe Iran entrenching itself militarily in Syria.

"The United States needs to develop leverage to get Russian Federation to tell the Iranians to leave Syria, and the best way to achieve that is to make clear to Moscow that we won't leave before the Iranians are out of the picture", he explained.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran, as one of the victims of chemical weapons, strongly condemns the use of such weapons by any party and anywhere in the world based on its principled policies and religious and moral teachings", Qassemi said in a Sunday statement.

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