Large-scale explosion reported at Iranian base in Syria

Sergio Conner
April 15, 2018

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denounced the airstrikes on Syria as a "crime". Iran-backed Hezbollah, which has an extensive missile arsenal, last fought a war with Israel in 2006.Syria, Iran and Russian Federation say Israel was behind an air strike on a Syrian air base on Monday that killed seven Iranian military personnel, something Israel has neither confirmed nor denied. During the phone call yesterday between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Vladimir Putin, the Russian president reportedly stressed his desire for Israel to respect Syrian sovereignty and not to destabilize the Syrian government, which should be read as Putin warning Israel to stay in its lane and not widen its lens to include altering the internal balance of power between Assad and the opposition, which the US seems to be considering.

In a statement, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said the US and its allies "will assume the responsibility for the regional and trans-regional consequences of this adventurism". "We thank them both", Trump added. "They had no role", Khamenei said.

Analyst Hossein Sheikholeslam, a former Iranian ambassador to Damascus, told state television the attacks would help unite Syrians behind the government.

Iran's involvement in Syria in support of Assad has alarmed Israel, which has said it will counter any threat.

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The armed Iranian-backed Shi'ite movement Hezbollah, which has an extensive missile arsenal, last fought a war with Israel in 2006.

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The three countries' act of aggression against the Syrian government and nation was a practical move to strengthen terrorism in the region, he said, adding that undermining a country's national sovereignty was tantamount to creating regional instability. While he called it a "heavy strike", he said, "Right now this is a one-time shot and I believe it has sent a very strong message to dissuade him, to deter him from doing it again". "And we will act if necessary not just against Iran's proxies that are attacking us, but against Iran itself".

The strikes on Syria have been carried out to boost the morale of the terrorist groups following their defeat by the Syrian army, it said.

The Pentagon subsequently said no further strikes were planned as part of an operation launched a week after a suspected chemical attack on the holdout rebel town of Douma killed dozens of people.

In sending missiles and bombs at Syria, President Trump hit more targets and used more firepower than he did in a similar military strike a year ago.

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