Russia, Iran denounce Syrian airstrikes; Tehran warns of consequences
Russia and Iran, staunch allies of the Syrian regime led by President Bashar al-Assad, strongly condemned the overnight airstrikes, with Iranâs supreme leader calling U.S. President Donald Trump, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron âcriminals.â
Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced the attack in a statement Saturday. âWith their actions, the U.S. is deepening a humanitarian catastrophe in Syria,â he said, calling for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council. Putin did stop short of threatening direct retaliation in a deepening standoff between Syriaâs allies and the West.
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U.S., U.K. and French forces launched targeted airstrikes in Syria late Friday intended to deter the Assad regime from using chemical weapons, which the government allegedly did last week in a suburb of Damascus, killing at least 43 civilians.
The allies, using around 100 missiles, according to reports, hit three targets all related to Syriaâs chemical program: a research center, a storage facility, an equipment facility and command post. No American pilots were killed, according to the Pentagon; the number of Syrian and other casualties is not yet known. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said the scale of these attacks was larger than the one last year, which only struck one Syrian airbase. Trump said Friday the U.S. is âprepared to sustain this responseâ if Syria does not stand down with chemical weapons use.
Military experts were mixed in their assessment, with some saying whatâs essentially a slap on the wrist for Syria and little action to limit Russian and Iran involvement wonât have the impact the Trump administration tried for.
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Tru mp earlier in the week had warned Russia to get ready for a military response in Syria.
âTo Iran and to Russia, I ask what kind of nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men women and children,â Trump said then.
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Russia has provided military support for the Assad regime since 2015 as a seven-year-old civil war continues to ravage the nation, where Assad maintains control of about half the country.
U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman confirmed in a statement that Moscow was warned ahead of time of the strike âto reduce the danger of any Russian or civilian casualties.â
Russia said none of its soldiers were killed in the Friday strikes and that its planes were now patrolling the skies above Syria in case of further aggression, the Wall Street Journal reported.
âRussia wasnât planning to strike back unless itâs troops were hit,â Ivan Konovalov, an independent military analyst, told the Journal. âItâs clear that the U.S., U.K. and France did everything they could to prevent that from happening.â
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Russiaâs chief of staff said Syrian forces used Soviet-era air defenses to intercept more than 70 rockets that targeted air bases and other installations, the Journal said. The claim couldnât be independently confirmed.
Assad-ally Iran had a stronger response.
âTodayâs morning attack on Syria is a crime,â Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a speech posted on his website. âI explicitly announce that the U.S. president, French president and the British prime minister are criminals and have committed crime.â
U.S.-ally Israel has bombed Syrian targets periodically over the course of the Syrian war, largely as a means to tamp down Iranâs activities in the country.
Iranian officials said the U.S.-led strikes Friday wouldnât change the battlefield conditions.Source: Google News Russia | Netizen 24 Russia