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Syria and Russia accuse Israel of missile strikes on T4 airbase in Homs

Syria and Russia on Monday, April 9 accused Israel of conducting missile strikes on the T4 airbase in Homs from Lebanese airspace, media reported.

“The Israeli attack on the T-4 airport was carried out with F-15 aircraft that fired several missiles from above Lebanese territory,” Syrian state news agency SANA said, citing a military source.

It had reported just before dawn that “several missiles” had hit T4, which lies in central Syria and is also known as the Tiyas air base, and that the attack had left dead and wounded but did not give casualty figures.

“Two F-15 planes of the Israeli army hit the airbase between 3:25 a.m. and 3:53 a.m. Moscow time (0025 GMT and 0053 GMT) with the help of eight missiles controlled remotely from Lebanese territory, without entering Syrian air space,” the Russian Ministry of Defence was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

Syrian air defense systems intercepted five missiles, while three reached the western part of the airfield, Tass reported the ministry as saying.

No Russian advisors were among the casualties, the ministry said. Al Arabiya reported that Iranian advisors were killed in the strike.

A spokesperson for Israel Defense Forces said they had no comment on either the events in Syria or Moscow’s comments.

The U.S. Department of Defense denied responsibility for the strikes.

“At this time, the Department of Defense is not conducting air strikes in Syria,” a Pentagon statement said. “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.”

France has also denied carrying out the strikes.

The White House said on Sunday that President Donald Trump spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron about a suspected chemical weapons attack carried out by Syrian government forces in Douma, an opposition-held town in Eastern Ghouta.

“Both leaders strongly condemned the horrific chemical weapons attacks in Syria and agreed that the Assad regime must be held accountable for its continued human rights abuses,” the White House readout said. “They agreed to exchange information on the nature of the attacks and coordinate a strong, joint response.”

Israel regularly attacks Iranian and Hezbollah targets inside Syria, and is believed to be behind airstrikes on several Syrian sites since the country’s civil war began.

In February, an Israel Defence Forces F-16 fighter jet crashed while on a mission to attack Iranian targets in Syria. IDF spokesperson Jonathan Conricus said the F-16 was targeting “Iranian control systems in Syria” that sent a drone into Israeli airspace.

Conricus said that the IDF struck 12 “Syrian and Iranian military targets in Syria, in response to Iranian aggression,” including air defense systems. These reportedly included T4.

The Syrian army said its air defense systems intercepted an Israeli strike on a military position near Damascus on February 7. Al Hadath reported that the strikes targeted a military scientific research center in the suburb of Jemraya, 10 kilometers (7 miles) northwest of the capital.

In January, the IDF carried out air strikes and fired rockets at targets in Syria, causing damage near what it said was a military position near Damascus.

Last month Israel admitted for the first time that it carried out a top-secret 2007 air raid against a suspected nuclear reactor in Syria.

With reporting from AFP

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