Blast kills 31 regime fighters at ‘significant’ Syria base, says UK monitor
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Blast kills 31 regime fighters at ‘significant’ Syria base, says UK monitor

Cause of explosion not yet clear; Shayrat airbase one of the regime’s most important installations in center of country

This Oct. 7, 2016 satellite image released by the US Department of Defense shows Shayrat air base in Syria. (DigitalGlobe/U.S. Department of Defense via AP)
This Oct. 7, 2016 satellite image released by the US Department of Defense shows Shayrat air base in Syria. (DigitalGlobe/U.S. Department of Defense via AP)

BEIRUT, Lebanon – A munitions blast killed 31 regime and allied fighters at a military airport in central Syria Saturday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, increasing an earlier toll of 12.

State news agency SANA reported earlier that a “technical fault during the transport of expired ammunition” had killed an unspecified number of victims at the Shayrat airbase in Homs province.

The Syrian Observatory, which is based in Britain and relies on a network of sources on the ground, said it was still unclear what had caused the deadly explosion.

The Shayrat airbase is one of the regime’s most significant installations in the center of the country.

In 2017, US airstrikes hit the base in response to a suspected sarin gas attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun in northwest Syria that killed more than 80 people.

According to the Pentagon, US intelligence had established that the base was the launchpad for the alleged chemical attack.

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