Monday, 23 July, 2018

Country struck by missiles; officials claim USA not responsible

Military to present Trump with Syria strike options within hours: sources Syria says suspected US missiles fired at air base; Washington denies strike
Charlie Simmons | 10 April, 2018, 20:23

According to Syrian officials, the air strikes killed and injured a large number of people and among those killed were Iranians and members of Iranian groups.

In response, the Trump administration ordered the the launch of a barrage of Tomahawk cruise missiles against a Syrian airbase, marking the first time the USA had directly targeted the Syrian regime since the start of the country's civil war in 2011. Russia, President Bashar al-Assad's most powerful ally, called the reports fake.

American officials say Israel informed the United States of its plans to strike a Syrian airbase days after a chemical weapon attack left dozens of civilians dead in a rebel-held city east of Damascus.

The Russian military, whose support for Assad has turned the war in his favour, said two Israeli F-15 war planes carried out the strike.

His comments came exactly a year and a day after the United States fired cruise missiles at a Syrian air base in retaliation for a deadly sarin gas attack in 2017.

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

Israel did not comment on Monday's missile strike. Defense analysts quoted by Reuters said there were deployments of Russian forces at the base. Israel hit the base, known as T4, in February, after it said an Iranian drone that violated Israeli airspace took off from it.

"We are aware of the reports, we have nothing to confirm", a Pentagon representative said commenting on the reports of the U.S. involvement in the attack. The Obama administration, having said that the use of the chemical weapons was a "red line" the regime could not cross, considered a military response at the time.

"In this context we are taking action with all means, over time".

"Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria", he wrote in the first of three tweets.

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The state SANA news agency says the people were freed around midnight on Sunday. However gaining access to samples on the ground would be hard.

The missiles were fired after the USA said a year ago that Assad was responsible for a sarin gas attack on the area of Khan Sheikhoun in northwestern Syria, which killed over 100 people.

Pentagon later said in a statement that it is not carrying out airstrikes on Syria, denying the reports of the United States attack.

Syrian air defences shot down eight missiles after a major air base in central Syria was struck in the early hours of Monday, Syrian state television reported.

Opposition activists said 40 people died in Saturday night's chemical attack in the town of Douma, the last remaining rebel bastion in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, blaming Assad's forces.

The UN Security Council is set to meet in an emergency session today to discuss the poison gas attack.

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.

UOSSM said doctors could not determine the origin of the chemical attacks.

And in 2017, the Syrian government used sarin once again, this time against civilians in the town of Khan Sheikhoun.

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