US refutes reports of attack on Syrian airbase

ANI | Updated: Apr 09, 2018 10:19 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 9 (ANI): The United States has dismissed Syrian claims accusing it of attacking a Homs air base.

This came hours after US President Donald Trump took to his Twitter handle to vent out his exasperation over an alleged chemical weapon attack in Douma, criticising the Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran for backing 'Animal Assad'.

"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 to pay. Open area immediately for medical help and verification. Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!" tweeted the US President.

According to Syrian State TV, the T-4 airbase in Homs in western Syria was battered by "several missiles" in an "attack likely done by the US" early on Monday.

According to a military source, the missile attack caused an "unspecified number of deaths and injuries" respectively, reported Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA)

The Pentagon denied any role in the military airbase attack in Homs and issued a statement, "At this time, the Department of Defence is not conducting airstrikes in Syria. However, we continue to closely watch the situation and support the ongoing diplomatic efforts to hold those who use chemical weapons, in Syria and otherwise, accountable."

Also, a senior US administration official was quoted by CNN as saying that Syrian State TV reports on US Tomahowk missiles that hit the Homs airbase in Syria were "not true".

According to The Atlantic, The White Helmets, a voluntary aide group, pinned the blame for the assault, which claimed more than 40 civilian lives, on the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

However, the regime rejected the claim, calling it a "fabrication" by Jaish al-Islam, the Islamist group controlling the area. Russia, which has backed Assad throughout the seven-year-long civil war, rejected the claim as well.

The US Department of State, in a statement, claimed to be following the reports on Saturday's attack and added that Russia "ultimately bears responsibility" for the attacks and its consequences.

Trump's rants, however, remained to be the highlight of the criticisms that were aimed towards the Syrian and Russian governments. It also, perhaps, came as a bit of a surprise as Trump has often been criticised for his lack of the same towards his Russian counterpart for his country's alleged involvement in the meddling of the 2016 US presidential election.

Former US President Barack Obama had once said that the use of chemical weapons, which is banned under international treaties, which Syria remains a part of, was a 'Red Line' for the US' strategy in the Syrian Civil War.

Chiding his stance, Trump, in another tweet said, "If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!" (ANI)

iocl