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Syria Reports Missile Strike On Homs Airfield; U.S. Says Not Conducting Attack

The Syrian airbase located near the city of Homs

Syrian state media are reporting that “missiles” have struck a military airfield in the center of the country, killing and wounding several people, although U.S. forces say they are not conducting air strikes in Syria.

State-run news agency SANA said the air strike hit the Tayfur base, also known as T4, near the central city of Homs in the early hours of April 9. The United States and France said they did not carry out such a strike, and it was not clear who was responsible.

SANA did not give any casualty figures. But a Britain-based monitoring group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said at least 14 pro-government fighters were killed in the strike, including allied Iranian forces.

The Pentagon issued a statement saying that "at this time, the Department of Defense is not conducting air strikes 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," it added.

The Syrian media claimed that the country's air-defense crews had shot down eight attacking missiles.

An Israeli spokeswoman declined to comment, Reuters reported. Israel in the past has hit Syrian military sites and bases of Iranian-backed militias.

The reports of the missile strike come shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron vowed a "strong, joint response" to a suspected chemical attack that left dozens dead in the rebel-held Syrian Douma.

Syria has denied it launched a chemical attack.

The U.S. president condemned Russia, and Russian President Vladimir Putin directly, along with Iran for supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose government previously has been accused of deploying chemical weapons.

In April 2017, the U.S. military fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syria’s Shayrat airfield in response to a sarin gas attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun. Syria denied it was responsible for the attack, which left at least 80 people dead.

Trump and Macron said the countries would coordinate their responses during a United Nations Security Council meeting tentatively scheduled for April 9.

Based on reporting by AFP, Reuters, and dpa