Will Racke, DCNF
A barrage of missiles struck a military base inside Syria early Monday morning, according to multiple reports from Syrian state media and observers on the ground.
The attack targeted Tiyas air base near Homs in eastern Syria, the site from which an Iranian drone crossed into Israeli airspace in February. Israel responded to that incursion by bombing the Tiyas base, losing an F-16 fighter jet to a Syrian anti-aircraft missile in the process.
Air defenses intercepted eight missiles launched at the base, Syrian state media said. No government has yet claimed responsibility for the airstrikes, and U.S. defense officials denied American military assets took part in the attack, The Associated Press reported.
As reports of the strikes circulated, the White House released a readout of a call between President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron earlier Sunday. The call centered on a suspected chemical weapons attack from the Syrian regime against civilians in the besieged eastern Ghouta area of Syria on Saturday.
“Both leaders strongly condemned the horrific chemical weapons attacks in Syria and agreed that the Assad regime must be held accountable for its continued human rights abuses,” the readout stated. “They agreed to exchange information on the nature of the attacks and coordinate a strong, joint response.”
At least 40 people were killed and hundreds more injured in the attack, which struck the eastern Ghouta town of Douma — a suburb of the capital, Damascus, according to rescuers and opposition groups. The attack came as Syrian government forces sought to finish off an eight-week offensive against Douma — the last stronghold the Jaish al-Islam group’s Islamist rebels controlled.
Trump reacted angrily to the attack, warning that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his backers in Iran and Russia would pay a “big price” for using chemical weapons.
Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2018
In April 2017, Trump ordered a cruise missile strike against a Syrian air base in response to a sarin gas attack on civilians in Idlib province.