Syrian state-run media has announced a missile attack early Monday morning on an airbase in Homs province. The Syrians pointed the finger at the U.S. for the attack on the T4 airbase where 14 people including Iranians were killed.
Russian officials claimed that the planes attacking the base were Israeli F-15s and that they shot down all of the missiles.
U.S. officials said the United States was not responsible for the strikes in Syria. The French news agency reports that France’s military has also denied responsibility for the strikes.
“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,” Pentagon spokesman Christopher Sherwood said in a statement.
Syria has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons throughout the conflict that began in 2011, including the most recent suspected chemical attack Saturday in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus that killed at least 40 people.
Late Sunday, the White House said President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron strongly condemned chemical attacks in Syria and agreed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government “must be held accountable for its continued human rights abuses.”
“They agreed to exchange information on the nature of the attacks and coordinate a strong, joint response,” the White House said about a phone call between the two leaders.
Macron’s office added that the two sides “exchanged information and analysis confirming the use of chemical weapons.”
Trump further called for Syria to open the area of the alleged chemical attack to allow in verification and medical teams.
The Russian foreign ministry rejected claims of a chemical attack, saying, “The spread of bogus stories about the use of chlorine and other poisonous substances by (Syrian) government forces continues.
“We have warned several times recently against such dangerous provocations,” the Moscow statement said. “The aim of such deceitful speculation, lacking any kind of grounding, is to shield terrorists and to attempt to justify possible external uses of force.”
The attack in Ghouta where hundreds of families were gassed in their basements came hours after the Syrian government supposedly reached an agreement with the rebel forces there to exchange prisoners and leave the city.
Trump in a rare rebuke of Putin lashed out at him and Russia for the support of “the animal Assad” and vowed that there would be “a big price to pay” for the attack.
Photo courtesy AP