Iran condemns US strike on Syrian airbase

The Syrian opposition applauded a USA cruise missile attack on an airbase near Homs on Friday but said it must not be a one-off and was not enough on its own to stop government warplanes from hitting rebel-held areas.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the missile attack damaged over a dozen hangars, a fuel depot and an air defense base.

Barazi added that firefighting and rescue operations had been continuing for more than two hours and insisted that the airbase, which the US said was the site from which the sarin nerve gas attack on Khan Sheikhun was launched, was used to support Syrian regime operations against ISIS.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Assad's government "must be removed from leading Syria as soon as possible, and the best way to do that is by starting the transitional process".

Homs Governor Talal Barazi says U.S. attack would not impact the Syrian government or its ability to fight "terrorists".

The Syrian military called the attack a "blatant aggression" that would undermine its war on terror.

Iran said Friday that it "strongly condemns" a United States air strike on a Syrian government airbase in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town.

On Friday, US senior military officials disclosed declassified intelligence information to lay out reasoning behind the attack on the Syrian military airfield in Ash Sha'irat near Homs late Thursday.

The U.S. notified the Russian military in Syria before the attack because it had personnel and helicopters at the base in a separate area that the Tomahawks didn't hit. The U.S. attack "sends a clear message to the regime and its backers" that they can no longer avoid repercussions, Ramadan said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday that "unconditional support is not possible in this current world".

Just last week, the Trump administration signaled the USA was no longer interested in trying to push Assad from power over his direction of a conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and led to the worst refugee crisis since World War II.

Syria rejected the accusations, and Moscow had warned against apportioning blame until an investigation has been carried out. The strikes also risk thrusting the US deeper into an intractable conflict that his predecessor spent years trying to avoid.

The source said the terrorists launched an attack on a Homs-Sha'irat stretch of highway at around 23:00 GMT and held their territory for over an hour until the arrival of reinforcements.

"Hitting one airbase is not enough, there are 26 airbases that target civilians", a key figure in the Army of Islam faction, Mohamed Alloush, said on his Twitter account. Alyousef lost at least 25 relatives in the chemical attack.

  • Leroy Wright