Video shows Syrians affected by chemical attack

Several Syrian activist groups reported barrel bombs with toxic gas were dropped by helicopters over the rebel-held city of Douma left dozens of civilians dead and scores wounded. Syrian state news agency SANA has cited an "official source" denying the allegations.

Posted: Apr 9, 2018 11:04 PM
Updated: Apr 9, 2018 11:06 PM

Syria and its most powerful ally, Russia, blamed Israel for striking an air base in the war-torn country on Monday, following a suspected chemical gas attack that drew condemnation from world powers.

Russia's Defense Ministry claimed two Israeli F-15 warplanes launched eight guided missiles from Lebanese territory, targeting the T-4 base in central Syria. The Defense Ministry said Syrian defense units destroyed five of the incoming missiles.

The Lebanese Army issued a statement alleging a number of violations of Lebanese airspace by Israeli aircraft between Sunday and Monday. The statement stopped short of accusing Israel of being behind the attack on the T-4 base.

Syrian state media said that a number of people were killed or injured in the strikes and cited a military source blaming Israel for the military action.

Israeli officials have not issued any response to reports of the strike, but its warplanes hit the same facility in February, after Israel said an Iranian drone had infiltrated its airspace. Israeli officials said Iran, a key backer of the Syrian government, was using the T-4 facility as a command center.

Key developments:

  • At least four Iranian military advisers were killed in the strike, Iranian state media reported.
  • Russia complained Israel did not inform it of any planned strike, despite a deconfliction agreement.
  • The strike comes two days after activists said a suspected chemical attack in Douma killed dozens.
  • US President Donald Trump vowed a response in the next two days to the "atrocious" suspected chemical strike.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed there was "no trace" of chemical weapons use there.

Israel active in Syria

The Syrian conflict has developed into a complex proxy war, which in recent years has included Israeli strikes on Iran-linked targets.

Israel's official stance on the war is neutral, but it has acknowledged carrying out some strikes on Syrian military targets, while denying responsibility for numerous others. It has clearly stated in the past that it would respond to Iran's growing presence in Syria.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a March interview with the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper that Israel had been acting militarily in Syria in recent months. "A large part of Israeli army activity does not find its way on to (Israeli newspapers and websites) ... and that is good," he said. "It's just not right to say that we don't act."

Israel and Russia have typically coordinated their military actions over Syria for deconfliction since Russian forces entered the country in late 2015. The T-4 base, located in a strategic position between the cities of Homs and Palmyra in Syria's west, has been a key staging ground for Syrian and Russian aircraft during the war.

But Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said there had been no contact between Israel and Russia before or during Monday's airstrike, adding the lack of communication was a "cause for concern."

Peskov said Putin intended to speak with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the issue as Russian advisers were still at the T-4 base.

Syria had earlier speculated that the United States was behind Monday's strikes, which the Pentagon swiftly denied.

Trump: 'Big price to pay' in Syria

Syrian activist groups said toxic gas inside barrel bombs were dropped from helicopters over the rebel-held city of Douma on Saturday, killing dozens of civilians and wounded scores more.

Graphic footage shot by rescuers and activists show victims -- including children -- dead and injured, some ghostly white and foaming at the mouth in makeshift clinics. Others were found suffocated in their homes, according to first responders.

CNN could not independently verify the authenticity of the images.

The Syrian government and Russia vehemently denied involvement and accused rebels in Douma of fabricating the chemical attack claims to hinder the army's advances and provoke international military intervention.

The United Nations Security Council held a special meeting Monday to discuss what appeared to be a chemical attack, and US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley excoriated Russia, saying its hands are "covered in the blood of Syrian children."

"Russia could stop this senseless slaughter, if it wanted," she said. "But it stands with the Assad regime and supports it without hesitation."

Russia pushed back. "Nobody has invested you with the authority to act as gendarmes, policemen of the world ... we call on you to return to the legal fold," Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said.

Despite the chaos in Douma, life goes on in the capital, Damascus. The streets are choked with traffic as people commute to work and marketplaces, while young people smoke shisha pipes at street-side cafes.

But there is also a sense of relief in the capital. Its residents have for years endured mortar fire from Eastern Ghouta, an enclave which Douma is part of, though that reprieve could be short lived.

President Trump on Sunday warned Russia, Iran and Syria of a "big price to pay" following the attack, and slammed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as an "animal" on Twitter. On Monday he said the United States would respond in 24 to 48 hours.

"It was an atrocious attack, it was horrible, you don't see things like that as bad as the news is around the world, you just don't see those images," he said Monday.

The Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons said that a fact-finding mission was working to establish whether chemical weapons were used.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday that his country had sent experts to Douma and that there was "no trace" of the use of chemical weapons there.

The attack came as Syrian forces were on the verge of reclaiming Douma, the last town held by rebels in Eastern Ghouta, which was besieged for six years and has been heavily bombarded since mid-February.

On Sunday, Syrian state TV reported that the government had reached an agreement with Jaish al-Islam, the only remaining rebel group in the town, to leave within 48 hours.

As part of the agreement, the group's fighters would be transported to Jarablus in northern Syria. In exchange, the rebels would release all captives they are holding in Douma.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 31376

Reported Deaths: 1976
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9132533
Lake3260167
Cass15816
Allen124065
St. Joseph115534
Hendricks111765
Hamilton109691
Johnson1080104
Elkhart99127
Madison58058
Bartholomew47433
Porter47321
Clark45338
LaPorte39921
Tippecanoe3693
Jackson3591
Delaware34933
Howard34517
Hancock31727
Shelby31221
Floyd31238
Boone28135
Morgan25824
Vanderburgh2422
Decatur22231
White2218
Montgomery22116
Clinton2081
Harrison18421
Noble18120
Grant18120
Dubois1782
Greene16723
Warrick16426
Dearborn16221
Monroe15810
Henry1566
Lawrence14222
Vigo1417
Miami1371
Putnam1317
Jennings1264
Orange12422
Scott1163
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
Carroll912
Daviess8116
Steuben792
Kosciusko781
Newton7410
Wabash722
Wayne695
Marshall641
Fayette634
LaGrange602
Jasper541
Washington521
Fulton461
Rush452
Jay430
Jefferson411
Clay391
Pulaski390
Randolph383
Whitley342
Brown331
Sullivan321
Starke313
Owen311
DeKalb281
Knox240
Benton240
Crawford230
Perry230
Huntington222
Tipton221
Wells220
Blackford201
Switzerland190
Fountain172
Posey170
Parke170
Spencer141
Gibson132
Ohio130
Adams121
Warren121
Vermillion90
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0152

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 31911

Reported Deaths: 1969
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin5188228
Cuyahoga3927209
Marion261721
Hamilton2403128
Lucas2107229
Pickaway204235
Mahoning1334169
Summit1220159
Butler77625
Stark68289
Lorain64158
Montgomery59315
Trumbull52542
Columbiana47850
Belmont38412
Miami34830
Warren32819
Tuscarawas3122
Portage31058
Delaware29613
Medina28819
Ashtabula27732
Wood27445
Lake26711
Geauga25629
Wayne24850
Fairfield2403
Clark2066
Licking20410
Allen18931
Mercer1843
Richland1833
Clermont1815
Erie1555
Darke15116
Madison1337
Washington11718
Morrow1041
Crawford1043
Greene935
Ottawa907
Putnam8514
Monroe7111
Hocking654
Sandusky6510
Ross632
Jefferson622
Auglaize593
Huron521
Williams511
Hancock481
Muskingum450
Union430
Clinton430
Hardin400
Shelby402
Logan370
Wyandot362
Fulton360
Fayette340
Defiance322
Preble311
Guernsey310
Lawrence280
Carroll282
Champaign261
Holmes251
Brown241
Coshocton240
Knox231
Vinton190
Perry181
Highland181
Seneca182
Ashland170
Scioto150
Henry140
Athens141
Paulding130
Jackson110
Harrison100
Adams81
Gallia71
Pike60
Meigs60
Morgan50
Noble50
Van Wert50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 86°
Angola
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 85°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
80° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 82°
Decatur
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 80°
Van Wert
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 80°
Pop-Up Storms Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events