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Iranian forces among 14 killed in strike on Syria air base: monitor

Forces from Assad’s allies Russia and Iran, as well as fighters from Tehran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah militia, are known to have a presence there, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

world Updated: Apr 09, 2018 12:53 IST
Agence France-Presse, Beirut
Iran,Russia,Syria
Syrian soldiers gather on the outskirts of Douma, as they continue their fierce offensive to retake the last opposition holdout in Eastern Ghouta.(AFP)

An early morning strike on a Syrian government air base in the country’s centre killed 14 fighters, including Iranian forces allied to the regime, a monitoring group said on Monday.

“At least 14 fighters were killed in the strike on the T-4 airport, among them Iranian forces,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor.

Syrian state media had earlier reported dead and wounded in the strike, without giving casualty figures. The T-4 base lies in Syria’s central Homs province and is also known as the Tiyas airport.

Forces from regime allies Russia and Iran, as well as fighters from Tehran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah militia, are known to have a presence there, said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman.

The Observatory, which has a wide network of sources across war-ravaged Syria, said it could not confirm who carried out the attack on the T-4 base.

According to Reuters, Syrian state TV, however, hinted US hand behind the strike. “An aggression was perpetrated on T-4 air base in several strikes that is most likely to be an American attack,” state television said in a news flash.

Israel carried out strikes against a Syrian government base in the country’s centre in February, with the Observatory identifying it at the time as T-4.

Israel has struck targets inside Syria on multiple occasions throughout the country’s seven-year war, including those linked to Iran and Hezbollah or to Assad’s chemical weapons programme.

An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to comment. The raid came as worldwide outrage mounted over a reported chemical weapons attack on a rebel-controlled town outside the Syrian capital.

First Published: Apr 09, 2018 12:53 IST