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Missile attack on Syrian military outpost kills 26

MISSILES rained on a government military outpost in the central Syrian city of Hama last night leaving 26 dead in a dangerous escalation of the country’s war.

The dead were said to include 18 Iranians according to that country’s ISNA news agency, but another Iranian agency, Tasnim, denied that Iranians were among the victims.

Syrian TV denounced a “new aggression” and said a number of military facilities in the Hama and Aleppo countryside had been hit.

No country acknowledged responsibility for the blitz. Syrian newspaper Tishrin quoted sources on the ground saying the missiles had been fired from US-British bases in neighbouring Jordan, while the Coventry-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Israel was the most likely perpetrator. It said the target was an arms depot storing surface-to-surface missiles.

None of the jihadist organisations fighting the Syrian government are thought to have been capable of launching such an attack, meaning intervention by a foreign state is the most likely explanation.

The raid took place two hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to US President Donald Trump over the phone, with the White House saying the conversation had focused on “the problems caused by the Iranian regime’s destabilising activities.”

It follows another Israeli air strike that took place earlier in the month, when seven Iranian personnel were killed at Syria’s T4 airfield.

All Israeli attacks on Syrian forces are crimes of aggression under the UN charter since the countries are not at war.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned against what he called “hit and run” attacks on his country.

“They know, if they enter military conflict with Iran, they will be hit multiple times,” he said.

Syria’s government has received assistance from Russia, Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah movement in its war against Islamist extremist groups, which have variously received cash, arms and assistance, including medical facilities, from the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

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