The United States denied attacking the Syrian Air Base, and France also said its forces had not carried it out.
This came as Russian and Syrian military on Monday said Israeli war planes carried out missile strikes on a Syrian air base, hours after U.S. President Donald Trump warned of a “big price to pay” following reports of a poison gas attack on a rebel-held town.
Syrian state TV initially said the United States was suspected of carrying out a missile attack on the T-4 airfield near Homs, after harsh words by Trump over the reported chemical attack on Saturday in the town of Douma which killed dozens of people.
The Russian military, whose forces are supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said two Israeli F-15 war planes had carried out the strikes on the Syrian T-4 air base, the Interfax news agency reported.
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Interfax cited the Russian Defence Ministry as saying the Israeli war planes had carried out the strikes from Lebanese air space, and that Syrian air defense systems had shot down five of eight missiles fired.
Syrian state media, citing a military source, then carried a similar report. “The Israeli aggression on the T4 airport was carried out with F-15 planes that fired several missiles from above Lebanese land,” state news agency SANA said.
When asked earlier about the explosions from the air base, an Israeli spokeswoman declined to comment. Israel had no immediate comment to the Syrian and Russian military charges.
Israel has struck Syrian army locations many times in the course of the conflict, hitting convoys and bases of Iranian-backed militias that fight alongside Assad’s forces.
Israel has accused Damascus of allowing Iran to set up a complex at the T-4 base to supply arms to its ally, Lebanon’s Shi’ite Hezbollah.
Syrian state TV, in its initial report, said there had been casualties in what it said was a suspected U.S. missile attack on the T-4 airfield near Homs, close to the ancient city of Palmyra in central Syria. The Pentagon denied U.S. war planes were carrying out any air strikes in Syria at the present time.
“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,” it said.
Defence analysts say there are large deployments of Russian forces at the T-4 base and jets fly regular sorties from there to strike rebel-held areas.
The Syrian state broadcaster said there were several dead and wounded in the strike.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitor, said at least 14 people were killed including some fighters of various nationalities, a reference to Iranian-backed Shi’ite militia members, mostly from Iraq, Lebanon and Iran fighting alongside the Syrian army.
Reuters said it could not independently verify the report.