Syria and its main ally Russia blamed Israel for the attack, near the city of Homs, which followed reports of a poison gas attack by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces on the rebel-held town of Douma.
Israel, which has often struck Syrian army locations during its neighbour’s seven-year civil war, has neither confirmed nor denied mounting the raid. But Israeli officials said the Tiyas air base was being used by troops from Iran and that Israel would not accept such a presence in Syria of its arch foe.
Iran’s Tansim news agency said seven Iranian military personnel had been killed in the attack, which contributed to a sharp escalation of tensions between the West and Russia.
“(The Tiyas strike) was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets – both facilities and people,” New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman quoted the Israeli military source as saying.
Friedman described the seven Iranians killed as members of the Qods Force, a branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps that oversees operations abroad, and one of them as a commander of a drone unit.
Asked about the claim of Israeli responsibility…