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Four children among nine civilians dead in US Syria strike: state media

DAMASCUS (AFP) - 

A US missile strike targeting an airbase in central Syria killed nine civilians, including four children, on Friday, state news agency SANA reported.

The news agency said five of the civilians, among them three children, were killed in the village of Shayrat just outside the base of the same name.

"An American missile also hit the village of Al-Hamrat, which killed four civilians including a child," it added.

"Another seven civilians were wounded when a missile hit homes in Al-Manzul, four kilometres (two and a half miles) away from the Shayrat air base," it added.

Washington said it fired a barrage of 59 cruise missiles at the Shayrat base in response to what President Donald Trump called a "barbaric" chemical attack on a rebel-held town on Tuesday that he blamed on the Damascus regime.

The Pentagon said it believed the aircraft that carried out the deadly attack on Khan Sheikhun came from the Shayrat base.

US officials said Russian commanders in Syria were informed of the strike beforehand in order to avoid casualties that could prompt a broader crisis.

The Syrian army had said earlier that six people were killed in the strike on the base -- the first time that the US has directly attacked the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

© 2017 AFP