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Israel Believed To Be Behind Confusing Strike On Syrian Airbase

REUTERS/Amir Cohen

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter

Russia and Syria claim Israel conducted the confusing pre-dawn airstrike on a Syrian airbase Monday.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense reported Monday that two F-15 aircraft of the Israeli Air Force struck the Tiyas airbase (T4) earlier in the day, and Syrian state media made similar accusations, according to CNN. Syria reportedly shot down five missiles, but three hit their mark, killing at least 14 people.

Israel has yet to comment on the strike, but U.S. officials have reportedly confirmed Israel’s involvement in the strike on the airbase, NBC reports.

Syria initially suspected the U.S. was behind the attack, with state-run Sana reporting that an “aggression was perpetrated on T4 airbase in several strikes that is most likely to be an American attack,” but the Pentagon quickly denied any U.S. involvement.

The strike on the airbase followed a chemical weapons attack on Douma Sunday that ended the lives of dozens of people, including women and children. The deadly attack triggered a strong response from President Donald Trump, who warned that “animal Assad” would have a “big price to pay” in a tweet Sunday.

In response to a brutal sarin gas attack on civilians in Syria in April last year, Trump ordered a massive strike on a Syrian airbase, obliterating part of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s military aviation assets. The president’s furious tweets Sunday signaled that he might again be considering using military force against the Syrian regime.

U.S. objectives in Syria are currently murky, as Trump has stated that he intends to withdraw from the war-torn country after the defeat of the Islamic State, but the U.S. national security establishment (Pentagon, State Department, and CIA) is keen on staying in Syria to rebuild and stabilize it to hinder Russian, Turkish, and Iranian ambitions while preventing ISIS from re-emerging as a regional nuisance.

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