A Syrian air base was hit with savage rocket strikes, administration media announced Monday, after the US and France cautioned of a solid reaction to “horrendous substance weapons assaults” on the radical held district of Eastern Ghouta close Damascus.
Washington denied duty regarding the strike on Syria’s focal Tayfur air base.
“At this time, the Department of Defense is not conducting air strikes in Syria,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
US President Donald Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron spoke by phone and vowed a “strong, joint response” to the suspected chemical attack that killed dozens, the White House said Sunday.
It added that the regime of Bashar al-Assad “must be held accountable for its continued human rights abuses”.
Trump had earlier taken to Twitter to issue a blistering warning to the Syrian regime and its allies.
“Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria,” Trump wrote, lashing out at Russia’s Vladimir Putin, a key ally of the regime.
“President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay,” he said.
Damascus and its allies have denounced the accusations, with the Syrian regime brushing them off as an “unconvincing broken record”.
Russia’s foreign ministry called the latest reports of a chemical attack a provocation.
Syrian regime media said early Monday that “several missiles” had hit the Tayfur airport, later adding that there were “dead and wounded” in the strike, without giving exact casualty numbers.
The media first said the missile strike on the Tayfur base was a “suspected US attack,” but later withdrew all reference to America.
Regime forces, backed by Russia, have pounded Eastern Ghouta in a seven-week assault to dislodged rebel fighters, killing more than 1,700 civilians and prompting tens of thousands to flee.
Late Saturday, Syria’s White Helmets, who act as first responders in opposition-held areas of Syria, said “poisonous chlorine gas” was used on Douma — the last sliver of territory held by rebels.
One video shared by activists showed bodies of about a dozen children, women and men, some with foam at the mouth. “Douma city, April 7 … there is a strong smell here,” a voice can be heard saying.