Some deaths, no major losses in US attack on Syrian air base: Homs governor

The Homs governor Talal Barazi (left) with Russian army officers overseeing the preceedings during the second phase of the government-led evacuation from the rebels-held al-Waer neighborhood, in the western outskirts of the central city of Homs, Syri
The Homs governor Talal Barazi (left) with Russian army officers overseeing the preceedings during the second phase of the government-led evacuation from the rebels-held al-Waer neighborhood, in the western outskirts of the central city of Homs, Syria, on March 27, 2017.PHOTO: EPA
VIDEO: REUTERS

BEIRUT (REUTERS) –  A US missile strike on an airbase near the Syrian city of Homs caused deaths but is not believed to have resulted in “big human casualties”, Homs Governor Talal Barazi said.

Barazi said the attack served the interests of  “armed terrorist groups” including the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), adding that the targeted air base had been providing air support for army operations against the ISIS east of Palmyra.

Barazi was speaking in a series of phone interviews with media on Friday (April 7). He confirmed deaths at the air base in a phone interview with Lebanese TV station al-Mayadeen.

“I believe – God willing – that the human casualties are not big, but there is material damage. We hope there are not many victims and martyrs,” he told Reuters by telephone.

Speaking at dawn, he said rescue and fire-fighting operations had been going on for two hours at the base.

He said the attack was a form of “support for the armed terrorist groups, and it is an attempt to weaken the capabilities of the Syrian Arab Army to combat terrorism”.

Speaking to Syrian state TV, Barazi said: “The Syrian leadership and Syrian policy will not change.

“This targeting was not the first and I don’t believe it will be the last,” he added.  

 
 

In separate comments to al-Mayadeen, he said: “The war against terrorism will continue.” 

US President Donald Trump said he ordered missile strikes against an airfield from which a deadly chemical weapons attack was launched this week, declaring he acted in America’s“national security interest” against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

US officials said the military fired dozens of cruise missiles against the base in response to the suspected gas attack in a rebel-held area that Washington has blamed on Assad’s forces.

The Syrian government has strongly denied responsibility.

The US strikes “targeted military positions in Syria and in Homs specifically” in order to publicly “serve the goals of terrorism in Syria and the goals of Israel in the long run”, Barazi said in his interview with state TV.