General News

Syrian claims of missile attack on Homs airbase were ‘false alarm’

Syrian air defences were mistakenly activated overnight in response to a false alarm at the Shayrat airbase near Homs, state television has announced.

State media had earlier reported that incoming missiles were shot down by the country’s anti-air batteries on Monday night. It showed pictures of a missile shot above the base.

Later on Tuesday, however, state television said “there was no foreign assault on Syria” and that the missiles had been fired in response to a false alarm.

The reports of a fresh attack were made at a time of heightened alert after US, British and French forces bombed Syria at the weekend. Syria previously claimed Israeli warplanes had targeted another airbase near Homs.

A commander in the regional military alliance that backs the Syrian government said the air defence malfunction was due to “a joint electronic attack” by Israel and the US on the radar system. Speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, he said that Russian experts had dealt with the issue.

Responding to the initial report, Eric Pahon, a Pentagon spokesman, said: “There is no US military activity in that area at this time. We do not have additional details to provide.”

Hezbollah militia’s media unit said on Tuesday that Syrian air defences had intercepted three missiles aimed at Dumair airbase, north-east of Damascus.

Syrian state media made no mention of the strike on Dumair. Opposition forces say Dumair was used in the military campaign to regain eastern Ghouta.

US, British and French forces attacked three sites in Syria early on Saturday in response to a chemical attack on a Damascus suburb that left scores of people dead.

Shayrat airbase was targeted last year by US cruise missiles in response to a chemical attack that killed at least 70 people, including children, in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun.

Israel has struck Syrian army locations many times during the course of the war, hitting convoys and bases of Iranian-backed militias such as Hezbollah that fight alongside Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

Asked about the reported missile attack, an Israeli military spokesman had said: “We don’t comment on such reports.”

Earlier this month, four Iranian military personnel were killed in an airstrike on the Syrian T-4 airbase near Homs. Syria and its main allies, Iran and Russia, blamed Israel for the attack, but Israel did not confirm or deny responsibility.

The deputy leader of Hezbollah, Sheikh Naim Qassem, said: “The deliberate Israeli slaying of Iranians in the T-4 base will have a response, but we don’t know its nature or its details.”

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has said his country will continue “to move against Iran in Syria”.

Loading...
To Top