Smoke billows in the town of Douma, the last opposition holdout in Syria's Eastern Ghouta, on April 7, 2018, after Syrian regime troops resumed a military blitz to pressure rebels to withdraw. / AFP / STRINGER
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Deadly missile strikes hit a Syrian military airbase on Monday, state media said, but Washington and Paris denied carrying them out in response to an alleged poison gas attack.U.S. President Donald Trump and French counterpart Emmanuel Macron had on Sunday vowed a "strong, joint response" to the suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Douma.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the country's conflict, said 14 fighters had been killed, including Iranian forces allied to the country's regime.In February it carried out major air raids in Syria after an Israeli F16 fighter was shot down by Syrian air defences.Backed by Moscow, Assad has waged a seven-week assault to dislodged rebels from Eastern Ghouta, their former bastion on the edge of Syria's capital.The assault killed more than 1,700 civilians, displaced tens of thousands, and left Islamist rebels cornered in their last holdout of Douma, the main town in Ghouta.After capturing most of Ghouta with a military assault, Syria and its ally Russia secured two negotiated withdrawals last month that saw 46,000 rebels and civilians leave the enclave.
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