Iranian forces among 14 killed in strike on Syria air base: monitor

Glen Norman
April 12, 2018

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hit back at US President Donald Trump, who has said Russian Federation and Iran share the blame for an alleged chemical attack in a rebel-held town in Syria.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a letter sent to the United Nations on Monday that Israel is "practicing state terrorism and threatens security and peace in the region and the world".

The latest such attacks took place in mid-February when Israel bombed a Syrian Army facility in Central Syria.

In Washington, Trump said his team was still debating whether to punish Damascus for the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Sunday attack on the town of Douma, the last major rebel-held urban stronghold in the suburb of Eastern Ghouta.

Syrian forces, backed by Russian Federation, have attacked Eastern Ghouta in a seven-week assault to dislodged rebels, killing more than 1,700 civilians and forcing tens of thousands to flee. The Israeli government has refused to acknowledge or deny the attack, although both the Russian and Syrian governments have directly accused it of responsibility.

Block said he understand why Americans want out of Syria but cautioned that "the consequences of a US decision to disengage in the region must not be underestimated".

Velayati's visit in the Syrian capital this week is likely focused on how the two allied countries should respond to Israel's attack, according to Shimon Shapira, an expert on Iran and Hezbollah at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

US President Donald Trump and French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have vowed a strong response to the suspected poison gas attack, which left dozens dead, and the UN Security Council was expected to discuss the crisis later today.

More than 500 people, mostly women and children, were brought to medical centres complaining of difficulties breathing, foaming at the mouth and burning sensations in the eyes. But it said the suffocations were the result of shelters collapsing on people inside them.

Ansari said Western powers were using the alleged chemical attack as "an excuse" to undermine the Syrian regime's recent success on the ground. The U.S. threatened military action but later backed down.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's participation in the meeting, alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is perceived by the defense establishment not only as a sign of gratitude to Iran for its efforts to help salvage the Assad regime in Syria, but also as a guarantee of Iran's future role there.

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