(News Desk) – Russia and Syria said Israeli warplanes struck an airbase in the Syrian province of Homs and that Syrian air defense systems shot down five of eight missiles fired.
The Interfax news agency cited the Russian Defense Ministry as saying two Israeli F-15 warplanes had carried out the strikes on the Syrian T-4 airbase from Lebanese air space, and that Syrian air defense systems had shot down five of eight missiles fired, Reuters reported.
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 airbase, 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 militias that fight alongside the Syrian government’s forces.
US officials have reportedly confirmed that Israel carried out the predawn missile strike on the airbase in central Syria that reportedly killed 14 people on Monday, while Russia protested that it had not been informed ahead of time.
NBC News quoted two US officials as saying that Israel had carried out the strike, adding that Washington had been informed in advance.
Syrian state TV initially said the United States was suspected of carrying out the missile attack on the T-4 airfield, after harsh words by President Donald Trump over the reported chemical attack on Saturday in the terrorist-held town of Douma which killed dozens of people.
The US denied attacking the Syrian base, and France also said its forces had not carried it out.
The Saturday attack drew international condemnation from various countries and international bodies.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that Russian specialists had found no trace of a chemical attack on Douma, AFP reported.
“Our military specialists have visited this place… and they did not find any trace of chlorine or any other chemical substance used against civilians,” he said.
He also said that a strike on the Syrian airbase was a “very dangerous development.”
“I hope at least that the US military and those of the countries participating in the coalition led by the United States understand that,” Lavrov told a press conference.
Damascus, in a statement released late on Saturday, strongly rejected the allegation of using chemical munitions and said that the so-called Jaish al-Islam Takfiri terrorist group, which has a dominant presence in Douma, was repeating the accusations “in order to accuse the Syrian Arab Army, in a blatant attempt to hinder the army’s advance,” Press TV reported.
Moscow also rejected the accusations against the Syrian government as bogus reports and warned of consequences of an attack on Damascus.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed terrorism since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the country.