49 killed in alleged chemical attack in Syria, Assad regime's role suspected

49 killed in alleged chemical attack in Syria, Assad regime's role suspected”

The Syrian air defense system acted against the attack, destroying eight missiles before they reached their target, while others have hit the base, it said.

In the early hours of Monday, Syrian state television reported loud explosions heard near the T-4 airfield in the city of Homs in what it said was a suspected US missile strike.

In a press release, McCain suggested Trump's recent statement warning that USA troops would withdraw from Syria within six months could have inspired Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iranian backers to launch the poisonous attack in Douma on Saturday.

The president, in tweets, ripped "that animal Assad" and lay blame for the Syrian president's power on Russia, Iran and even President Barack Obama. It's not too late to stop Assad's impunity and begin to rewrite this bad chapter in our history'.

Missiles struck an air base in central Syria early Monday, killing 14 people, including Iranians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor.

"Investigators from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) looking into reports of chemical weapons use in Syria have our full support".

Douma is the last remaining opposition-held town in Eastern Ghouta, once the rebels' main bastion outside Damascus but now ravaged by a seven-week regime assault. "Big price to pay", Trump said in a pair of tweets which began with a discussion of the attack in Syria's Eastern Ghouta, where rescue workers alleged that regime loyalists had used chlorine gas.

"It is a matter of grave concern that chemical weapons continue to be used, especially on civilians", the European Union said in a statement.

The EU, US, UK, France, Turkey and Pope Francis spoke out on Sunday against the attack on the rebel-held area near the Syrian capital, Damascus.

A later statement from State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the USA continued to "closely follow disturbing reports" of the alleged attack.

Moscow said military operations there had been halted.

Syrian activist groups on Saturday said toxic gas inside barrel bombs dropped from helicopters over a rebel-held city in Syria killed dozens of civilians and wounded scores more. Trump's homeland security adviser, Thomas Bossert, noted the timing of the suspected chemical attack - nearly a year to the day of the USA missile strikes.

It came a day after a reported chemical attack that killed dozens of people in Douma, which Syria and its ally Russian Federation have strongly denied.

"Information attacks about the use of chlorine or other poisonous substances by the Syrian government troops are continuing".

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Monday over a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Analysts say this is President Assad's biggest military success since the fall of Aleppo in 2016.

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