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Syrian air defence shoots down missiles over Homs: state media

Update: April, 17/2018 - 11:00
Photo taken on Tuesday shows suspected air defense missile in southern Damascus, Syria. Syrian air defenses responded to a missile strike, believed to be carried out by Israel, that targeted two airbases in Syria after midnight Tuesday, according to the War Media, the media wing of the Syrian army.- XINHUA/VNA Photo
Viet Nam News

DAMASCUS, Syria — Syrian air defence shot down missiles over the central province of Homs, the state news agency said on Tuesday with the strikes reportedly targeting regime air bases.

The news agency did not give further details and it was unclear who was behind the attack, which Syrian state television branded as an "aggression".

Big explosions were heard near Al Shayrat Air base, southeast of the city of Homs, and in eastern Qalamoun near Damascus where two other air bases are located, the Syrian Observatory for Human rights reported.

Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said missiles did not hit any of the air bases.

Following reports of an Israeli strike, an Israeli military spokesman said: "I’m not aware of such an incident."

In Washington, Pentagon spokeswoman Heather Babb said: "There are no US or coalition operations in that area."

Shayrat air base was targeted by US Tomahawk missiles in April last year in a strike ordered by President Donald Trump in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun in Idlib.

According to the Pentagon, US intelligence had established that the base was the launchpad for the alleged chemical attack.

New Syria aid projects

France will spend 50 million euros (US$62 million) on new projects in Syria to be carried out by around 20 humanitarian groups, the president’s office said Monday.

Emmanuel Macron made the decision "in the face of the critical humanitarian situation" in the war-torn country, his office said in a statement.

Macron met earlier with representatives of the aid groups who spelled out the humanitarian needs of a population that has endured seven years of war.

The decision comes two days after France took part in US-led air strikes on suspected chemical sites in Damascus following an alleged chemical attack in the Ghouta town of Douma.

The strikes raised fears of an escalation of the conflict in which more than 350,000 people have died, but key players on Monday appeared keen to shift the focus to diplomacy.

The projects will focus on the Idlib region where some 1.2 million displaced people live, according to UN estimates, as well as the Ghouta region near Damascus and in the northwest in areas recently liberated from the Islamic State group.

Overall, the United Nations estimates that 13 million Syrians including six million children need humanitarian aid. — AFP

 

 

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