Russia warns of ‘consequences’ for U.S.-led strikes in Syria

World Today

Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on attending the military parade during the Navy Day celebration in St.Petersburg, Russia, on Sunday, July 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)

Russia has labeled the coordinated strikes on Syria by the U.S., France, and Britain “unacceptable and lawless” – while warning of serious consequences.

The strikes targeted three sites believed to be where the Syrian government develops chemical weapons.

CGTN’s Jack Parrock explains, the strikes have re-ignited the war-of-words between Washington and Moscow.

The Russian government continues to reject claims by the West that the Syrian government conducted chemical weapons attacks in Douma and in Khan Sheikhoun a year ago. The Syrian government has categorically denied the accusation. Moscow contends these events are staged to justify western intervention in Syria like these coordinated airstrikes.

President Vladimir Putin said that the military action launched by the U.S., in cooperation with Britain and France, was “an act of aggression” against a sovereign state and strongly condemned the act.

Warning that the strikes will exacerbate the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria and provoke a new wave of refugees from the country and the region as a whole, Putin said the current escalation will have a devastating impact on the whole system of international relations.

The missiles didn’t strike any locations where Russian military forces are based; instead, hitting targets they believe are Syrian government chemical weapons labs.

Putin said Russian military experts did not find any traces of chlorine gas or other poisonous substances in the area where Syrian government forces are alleged to have launched a chemical weapon attack, namely, in the rebel-held district of Douma near capital Damascus.

The Kremlin took no military action in 2017 when the U.S. conducted similar airstrikes on a Syrian airbase… but Russian observers say that could easily change.

The Syrian government now has control of eastern Ghouta and the town of Douma where they are flying the Russian flag next to Syria.

President Bashar al-Assad appears to have the upper hand against rebel factions in this seven-year war – largely due to Russian support – and all indications point to that continuing.

For more on the U.S.-led strikes on Syria, CGTN’s Susan Roberts spoke with Peter Bechtold, former director for Near East and North African studies at the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute.