Fri | Jul 20, 2018

Warplanes strike town hit by chemical attack

Published:Sunday | April 9, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Protesters gather during a rally in New York against the US missile strikes in Syria, last Friday.


Warplanes yesterday struck the Syrian town where a chemical attack had killed scores of people earlier last week, as Turkey warned that a retaliatory United States missile strike on a Syrian airbase would only be "cosmetic" if greater efforts are not made to remove President Bashar Assad from power.

The air strikes on the opposition-held northern town of Khan Sheikhoun, where 87 people were killed in the chemical attack, killed a woman and wounded her son, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees, an activist collective.

Elsewhere in Syria, US-led air strikes killed at least 21 people, including a woman and her six children who were fleeing on a boat across the Euphrates River near the Islamic State group's self-styled capital, Raqqa, the target of a major offensive by US-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian forces, activists said.

Near the central city of Homs, a bomb exploded aboard a bus carrying workers, killing a woman and wounding more than 20, according to state TV and the Observatory.

The chemical attack prompted the US to launch nearly 60 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian airbase last Friday, which killed nine people and marked the first time Washington has directly targeted Syrian government forces since the war began in 2011.

The move was welcomed by the Syrian opposition and its main backers, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, but harshly condemned by Russia and Iran, who back Assad and said striking his forces would complicate the struggle against extremist groups.