LONDON (Reuters) - Seven Iranian military personnel were killed in Sunday’s air strike on a Syrian air base, Tasnim news agency said, almost double the number originally reported.
Syria’s government and its ally Iran have accused Israel of carrying out the attack on the Tiyas, or T-4, air base near Homs - something that Israel has not confirmed or denied.
The bodies of the Iranians, described as military advisers, had been flown back to Iran and funerals would take place later on Tuesday, Tasnim said. Earlier Iranian media reports said four personnel were killed.
The attack took place hours after U.S. President Donald Trump warned there would be a “big price to pay” following the reports of a poison gas attack on the Syrian rebel-held town of Douma. Syria’s government has denied any involvement in that attack.
“It seems the U.S. government is looking for an excuse for military intervention,” Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said has he arrived in Brazil early on Tuesday, according to state media.
“Iran’s stance on chemical weapons is clear and we condemn any use of them against any target,” Zarif added.
The Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s most powerful military force, have been fighting in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for several years. More than 1,000 Iranians have been killed in Syria’s civil war, including senior members of the Guards.
Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Andrew Heavens