Many dead in missile attack on Syrian air base, France, US deny role
Paris: France did not carry out a missile strike on a Syrian government air base early on Monday that reportedly killed several people, the French army said.
"It was not us," armed forces spokesman Colonel Patrik Steiger said.
The US also denied staging the strike.
Syrian state news agency SANA said the Tayfur air base was hit by ‘several missiles’ that left a number of dead and wounded, without giving exact casualty numbers.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said "at least 14 fighters" were killed, including Iranian forces allied to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
The assault came after the US and France vowed a "strong, joint response" to a suspected chemical attack at the weekend that left dozens dead in Syria's rebel-held town of Douma.
In a phone call on Sunday, US President Donald Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron condemned the "horrific" attack and said the Assad regime "must be held accountable for its continued human rights abuses," according to the White House.
Pentagon has, however, denied conducting air strikes on the Tayfur air base in the central province of Homs.
France also said it did not carry out an air strike on the Syrian government air base. "It was not us," armed forces spokesman Colonel Patrik Steiger told AFP.
"Several missiles hit the Tayfur airport. Our air defence systems are blocking the missile attack," state news agency SANA said early on Monday.
It later added that there were "dead and wounded" in the strike, without giving exact casualty numbers.
The missile attack came shortly after US President Donald Trump issued a stark warning over an apparent "chemical" attack in Douma, the last rebel-controlled town in an eastern suburb of Damascus.
"Many dead, including women and children, in mindless chemical attack in Syria", Trump wrote on Twitter, lashing out at Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russia's Vladimir Putin, a key ally of the regime.
"President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay," he said.
His comments came exactly a year and a day after the US fired cruise missiles at a Syrian air base in retaliation for a deadly sarin gas attack in 2017.
SANA first said the missile strike on the Tayfur base was a "suspected US attack," but later withdrew all reference to America.