BEIRUT: An early-morning strike on a Syrian government air base in the country’s centre killed 14 fighters, including Iranian forces allied to the regime, a monitoring group said on Monday.
“At least 14 fighters were killed in the strike on the T-4 airport, among them Iranian forces,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor. Syrian state media had earlier reported dead and wounded in the strike, without giving casualty figures. The T-4 base lies in Syria’s central Homs province and is also known as the Tiyas airport.
Forces from regime allies Russia and Iran, as well as fighters from the Tehran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah militia, are known to have a presence there, said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman. The Observatory, which has a wide network of sources across war-ravaged Syria, said it could not confirm who carried out the attack on the T-4 base. Israel carried out strikes against a Syrian government base in the country’s centre in February, with the Observatory identifying it at the time as T-4.
Israel has struck targets inside Syria on multiple occasions throughout the country’s seven-year war, including those linked to Iran and Hezbollah or to Assad’s chemical weapons programme. An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to comment. The raid came as worldwide outrage mounted over a reported chemical weapons attack on a rebel-controlled town outside the Syrian capital.