Home / World / Israel launched airstrikes on Syria that killed 14: Russia

Israel launched airstrikes on Syria that killed 14: Russia


Israel was behind airstrikes that killed a reported 14 people in Syria after outrage over an alleged chemical attack, according to the targets.


The Russian Defense Ministry, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, said that two Israel F-15 fighters fired eight rockets at the T4 airfield early Monday morning.


It said that the planes did not enter Syrian airspace, adding that five of the rockets were destroyed by anti-missile defenses and no Russian troops were killed by the three that landed.


The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based group opposed to Syrian President Bashar Assad, said that the 14 people killed were Iranians or part of Iran-backed groups in the country.


Israel, a close ally of the United States, has not commented on claims that it was behind the attack, also joined by Syrian state media after it initially blamed the U.S.


The bombings have unclear justification but come after activist groups said that dozens of people died in a chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held area.


The U.S. launched dozens of cruise missiles at a separate Syrian base a year ago after a chemical weapons attack that a United Nations body pinned on the Assad regime.


Syria and Russia have denied any role in this weekend’s attack in Douma, one of the last rebel pockets in Eastern Ghouta, though President Trump blamed “Animal Assad,” Iran and Russian President Vladimir Putin while saying there would be a “big price to pay.”

An image from the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, shows a child receiving oxygen through respirators following an alleged poison gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma.

(AP)


It is not clear how much the United States and Israel coordinated before the Monday attack, though Israeli officials said they were told before last year’s missile attack.


Israel also launched strikes against Syrian targets in February after an alleged drone incursion into its territory, and one Israeli jet was shot down.


Both Pentagon and French military officials said they were not involved in the strikes, which along with the chemical attack will be the subject of a United Nations Security Council meeting in New York on Monday.


Though Trump ordered last year’s strike without a clear authorization for the use of military force or international mandate, it was praised by many allies as a response to the chemical weapons use, once called a “red line” by Barack Obama.


The alleged Israeli response on Monday is unlikely to cause a major shift in the Syrian civil war, which has been fought since 2011 between Syrian government forces, their Russian and Iranian allies, extremists, U.S.-backed Kurdish forces and a coalition of Western and Arab countries led by the U.S.


U.S. military officials have acknowledged having 2,000 troops in the war-torn country, though Trump has said he wants to bring them home as the fight against the Islamic State winds down.


Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who has faced criticism over his troops killing dozens of Palestinians including a journalist during recent demonstrations, said Sunday that his country has to “deal alone” with threats.

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CHRISTOPHER BRENNAN

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