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Syrian monitor says four soldiers killed in US strike, airbase destroyed

The attack came in fiery retaliation for this week’s gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians.

world Updated: May 04, 2017 09:26 IST
AFP, Beirut
Syria attack,US airstrike,Syria chemical attack
US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) conducts strike operations in the Mediterranean Sea on Thursday night.(Reuters Photo)

A US strike on a Syrian airbase ordered in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack killed four soldiers on Friday and virtually destroyed its facilities, a monitoring group said.

“An air commodore was among the four soldiers killed,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

“The airbase was almost completely destroyed - the runway, the fuel tanks and the air defences were all blown to pieces,” the Britain-based monitoring group said.

“There were Sukhoi-22, Sukhoi-24 and MiG-23” fighter aircraft on the ground, observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The officers’ quarters at Shayrat, the government’s second most important airbase, were also damaged, he added.

Only Latakia airbase in the heartland of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime on the Mediterranean coast, where his ally Russia also maintains extensive facilities, is more extensive.

Washington said Russian military officials in Syria were informed of the strike beforehand in order to avoid casualties that could prompt a broader crisis.

First Published: Apr 07, 2017 11:56 IST