Russian military bizarrely claims United Kingdom staged Syrian chemical attack

Russian military bizarrely claims United Kingdom staged Syrian chemical attack

In a statement released on Twitter, Russia's ambassador to the US said the country was being "threatened", and issued an ominous warning that reprisals could follow.

"Russia will surely respond, but most likely through counter-sanctions created to address the overall degradation of the US-Russian relationship, rather than militarily against US soldiers in Syria", Eurasia Group, a risk advisory firm, said in an emailed note.

And this line has been backed by the United Kingdom and U.S. who are also pointing the finger at President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

"The objective of our action tonight is to establish a strong deterrent" against the use of chemical weapons, Trump said in a statement.

Syria's air defences "were made in the USSR more than 30 years ago", the ministry said.

But relations have instead soured over mounting evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, Russia's alleged poisoning of a former double agent in Britain and Putin's support of Assad's government in Syria.

But US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis struck a cautious note, telling lawmakers that the need to "stop the murder of innocent people" had to be weighed up against the risk of things "escalating out of control".

US officials suspect the Russia-backed Assad regime is behind the attack.

"There were no attempts to broaden or expand that target set".

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Analyst Alexey Malashenko, a specialist in the Syria conflict, told AFP that military retaliation would be highly risky for Russian Federation and Moscow appeared to be choosing a war of words instead.

Earlier in the day, Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff Col. Gen. Sergey Rudskoy said that Russia might consider sale of the S-300 systems to Damascus following US-led strikes against Syria. Russian could also target United States allies in the region with cyber attacks, it said.

But he said a long-standing "deconfliction" line was used to tell Moscow the areas where the Americans, French and British would be conducting operations.

Speaking to reporters in Moscow, Lavrov reiterated a strong warning to the West against military action in Syria.

Earlier this week, a USA attack on Syria looked imminent as Trump warned Russian Federation to "get ready" for missiles, but then on Thursday he appeared to back away, tweeting that an American attack could come "very soon or not so soon at all".

The air strikes were limited in scope, lasting about an hour.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said the strikes were a "one-time shot" and that no additional airstrikes were now planned.

On the ground in Syria, rebels in Eastern Ghouta surrendered their heavy weapons and their leader left the enclave, signalling the end of one of the bloodiest assaults of the seven-year war and a major win for the Assad regime.

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