Syrian State media reports missile attacks on airbase in Homs

Several people have died or were hurt after a Syrian military airport was hit by missiles just days after a suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Douma

Smoke rising from the rebel-held town, Douma. (Photo: The Guardian)
Smoke rising from the rebel-held town, Douma. (Photo: The Guardian)

Several people have died or were hurt after a Syrian military airport was hit by missiles, state media said, amid international alarm over a suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held town, Douma.

Syrian state TV reported loud explosions near the T-4 airfield in the desert east of the city of Homs in the early hours of Monday. It said the airfield was targeted with several missiles and that Syrian air defence was responding, and had shot down eight incoming missiles. State TV said the attack was “most likely” American, a claim the Pentagon has denied.

“At this time, the department of defence is not conducting air strikes in Syria,” a Pentagon spokesman said. “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.”

US President Donald Trump has previously said there would be a "big price to pay" after the chemical attack. He branded Syria's President Bashar al-Assad an "animal".

Video footage on social media in Lebanon showed aircraft or missiles flying low over the country, apparently heading east towards Syria. The Sana state-run news agency said the strikes resulted in a number of “dead and wounded”.

Meanwhile the last rebel fighters in Douma have surrendered and are being bussed out of the enclave after reaching a deal with the government.

Trump and France's President Emmanuel Macron issued a joint statement on Sunday vowing to "coordinate a strong, joint response" to the alleged attack.

Syria's state news agency Sana initially called the reported missile strike on the Tiyas airfield a "suspected US attack," but later dropped the reference to the US.

The attacks come on the eve of a planned UN security council meeting to discuss the chemical weapons attack on the Damascus surburb of Douma, which affected at least 300 people, killing 42. Many of the dead had had been sheltering in the basement of a building that was struck by a projectile shortly after 7.30pm. Ill-equipped local doctors said they treated patients for suffocation, foaming at the mouth, dilated pupils and burned eyes.

In April 2017, the US fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syria's Shayrat military airfield in response to a chemical weapons attack on a different rebel-held town, Khan Sheikhoun.

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