Syria has condemned a US missile attack targeting an army airbase near Homs as a “blatant act of aggression,” while Israel hailed it and a foreign-backed terrorist coalition called for further attacks.
Some 60 US Tomahawk missiles were fires from US warships deployed to the Mediterranean at the Shayrat airfield southeast of Homs early Friday.
In a statement issued Friday morning, the Syrian army said the US attack on the airbase killed six Syrian soldiers, leading to “big material loss” at the targeted facility.
A Syrian military source had earlier said the strikes led to “losses” as missiles hit airstrips, hangars, control tower and ammunition areas.
Homs Governor Talal Barazi said US missile strikes serve the goals of “armed terrorist groups” and Daesh, reiterating that the “aggression” will not prevent the Syrain government from “fighting terrorism.”
“This attack will not prevent us from continuing fighting terrorism. We are not surprised to see America and Israel supporting this terrorism,” Barazi said in a phone interview with state television.
Bolivia requested a closed-door UN Security Council to be held on Friday. Russia also said it wall call the 15-nation body into session.
The foreign-backed National Coalition, an alliance of terrorist groups, said it “welcomes the strike” and urged Washington to neutralize Syria’s ability to carry out air raids.
“We hope for more strikes… and that these are just the beginning,” coalition spokesman Ahmad Ramadan was quoted by the French news agency AFP as saying.
The Saudi kingdom also joined the militants to laud US strikes against Syria, calling it a “courageous decision” by Trump.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office celebrated the attack with an early morning statement, saying he supported “strong message” sent by US strikes.
Tel Aviv, which is widely viewed as a supporter of terror groups in Syria, has time and again carried out airstrikes on the Syrian territory under various pretexts. Israel and France also said they had been informed by the US ahead of the military strike.
Ankara urges no-fly zone over Syria
Meanwhile, Turkey welcomed the US air strike on a Syrian airbase early Friday as a “positive” move.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Friday it was necessary to enforce a no-fly zone and create “safe zones” in Syria without delay.
US President Donald Trump said he ordered missile strikes against a Syrian airfield from which a chemical weapons attack was allegedly launched this week.
Syria has categorically denied carrying out a chemical attack. Russia has said the deaths in Idlib were caused when a Syrian airstrike struck a “terrorist warehouse” used for making bombs with toxic substances.
The strategic base targeted in the US attack is a frontline in Syria’s operations against terrorists. It was used to respond to an Israeli aerial attack in March which prompted Tel Aviv to threaten to destroy Syria’s air defense systems.
The Pentagon said the Russians deployed to the targeted military facility were given prior notice, and that the missiles did not hit sections of the airbase where Moscow’s forces were reportedly present.