Russia, Syria say Israel carried out airstrike on base overnight


By Middle East Affairs

Russia and Syria are accusing Israel of carrying out an airstrike on a Syrian base overnight Sunday that left 14 dead and may have been at the request of the United States.

Russian military said two Israeli F-15 war planes from within Lebanese airspace delivered airstrikes on the base near Homs, according to Interfax news agency.

Interfax cited the Russian Defense Ministry as saying that Syrian air defense systems had shot down five of the eight missiles fired, but that the other landed on the western side of the base. British-based war monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 14 people were killed, and that they were mostly Iranian nationals or members of Iran-backed groups.

Lebanese military also stated Monday that four Israeli planes violated Lebanon’s airspace, according to Haaretz. The planes flew east over the coastal town of Jounieh and toward the city of Baalbek near the Syrian border, the statement said, and that they stayed in Lebanese airspace for about 10 minutes, beginning at 3:25 a.m.

Haaretz said on Monday Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the airstrike “a dangerous development.”

Initially Syria accused the United States of the airstrike after U.S. President Donald Trump said Sunday that President Bashar al-Assad had a “big price to pay” for allegedly dropping chemical weapons on the Eastern Ghouta town of Douma on Saturday.

The United States has denied involvement in the airstrike and Israel is declining to comment.

Lebanese TV channel Al Mayadeen quoted “Russian experts” in Syria who claimed the strike was an act by Israel on the part of the United States, which is looking to avoid a confrontation with Syrian ally Russia.

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