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Four Iranian fighters killed in air strike on Syrian air base

12 April 2018

Iran's Foreign Ministry said on Sunday reports of a gas attack in Syria were not based on facts and were an "an excuse" by the United States and Western countries to take military action against Damascus, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported.

Israel, which has struck Syrian army locations many times in the course of its neighbour's seven-year-old civil war, has not confirmed nor denied mounting the raid.

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"I do not know what happened there or who attacked", Liberman said, adding: "I know one thing for certain - we won't allow Iran to establish itself in Syria, whatever the cost". Iran may have been provoking an Israeli response, demonstrating a growing willingness to use Syria as a base to challenge Israel directly.

Hours after reports emerged that the Syrian military dropped chemical weapons on the rebel-held city of Douma, Trump tweeted his condemnation, mentioning Russian President Vladimir Putin by name.

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the strike on the base a "very risky development".

The Israeli military has been placed on high alert along the fraught northern border after Iran threatened retaliation for an airstrike on a Syrian airbase on Monday that killed seven of its countrymen.

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"The Israeli regime's aggression against Syria is a breach of this country's national sovereignty and territorial integrity and runs counter to all global regulations and principles", Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said. Iran "has consistently condemned use of chemical weapons by anyone (and) is itself the victim of their use by Saddam with USA support", Zarif wrote on Twitter, referring to chemical attacks during Iran's war with Iraq in the 1980s. Interfax news agency cited the Russian Defence Ministry as saying Syrian air defence systems had shot down five of eight missiles fired. Israel has taken out several strikes from Syria previously, several directed toward stopping exactly what it states is now a military buildup by Iran and its regional ally, Hezbollah, and the Syrian-Israeli border.

Four Iranian fighters killed in air strike on Syrian air base