UPDATE 1645 GMT: The Assad regime has withdrawn its propaganda of an overnight missile attack.
State TV now said air defenses were mistakenly activated over a false alarm at the Shayrat airbase near Homs: “There was no foreign assault on Syria.”
The outlet did not say why, given there was no attack, it had earlier shown claimed images of a missile show down above the base.
A “commander in the regional military alliance” behind the Assad regime blamed the air defense malfunction on “a joint electronic attack” by Israel and the US on the radar system. He said Russian experts had dealt with the issue.
But he did not explain why Hezbollah’s media unit had also claimed that regime air defenses intercepted three missiles aimed at the Dumayr airbase, northeast of Damascus.
The Assad regime’s outlets in Syria are claiming to have repelled a missile attack on Monday night — but there is no firm evidence any attack occurred.
As the regime marks Syrian Independence Day on Tuesday, the outlets have declared attacks both on Dumayr Airbase, northeast of Damascus, and Shayrat Airbase — which was hit by US missiles in April 2017, three day after the regime’s sarin attack in northwest Syria — in the center of the country.
The regime media asserted that the attacking missiles had been shot down by anti-air defenses. However, one of its images is actually of an old Soviet-made Smerch rocket, which is only held by regime forces.
— Ivan Sidorenko (@IvanSidorenko1) April 17, 2018
The Pentagon said that no US forces carried out operations overnight, following last Saturday’s US-UK-French missile strikes responding to the chemical attacks on April 7 on Douma near Damascus.
Both Russia and the Assad regime have tried to declare victory over last weekend’s US-UK-French missile response, proclaiming that 71 of 105 missiles were downed.
Neither Moscow nor the regime has yet to produce a single image backing up the claim. The Pentagon says that regime anti-air defenses only began firing 45 minutes after the missile strikes, and have issued photos of a destroyed military facility that produced chemical weapons.
The Israel Defense Forces, which have periodically hit regime targets throughout the Syrian conflict, did not specifically refer to the claimed attacks. However, analyst Michael Horowitz notes that the language points to an Israeli denial:
Note that the IDF stated it was "not aware of such an incident" when asked about the alleged attack, which differs from the official line not to comment. May indeed suggests there was not attack in the first place.
— Michael A. Horowitz (@michaelh992) April 17, 2018
Meanwhile, the Israelis put out a warning to Iranian forces supporting the Assad regime, after hitting the T-4 base in central Syria — where some of those personnel are stationed — twice since February.
Israeli security establishment now publishing satellite photos of IRGC Air Force bases in Syria and Tehran, along with the commander's mugshot – basically saying to them "we know where you live" pic.twitter.com/s5R7jkg014
— Anshel Pfeffer (@AnshelPfeffer) April 17, 2018