Russia, Iran condemn US missile strike on Syrian base

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Web Report
MOSCOW — Russia reacted harshly on Friday to the American strike against Syria, according to media reports.
Russia maintains its view that its ally, President Bashar Al Assad, had not bombed his own people with chemical weapons and saying that the United States’ operation would further corrode already dismal relations between Moscow and Washington.
Iran, Russia’s main ally in the region on Syria, also condemned the American attack, which left six people dead, according to the Syrian Army.
Speaking on state television, a spokesman for the Syrian Army described the missile strikes as an act of “flagrant aggression.”
The United States’ allies in Europe and the Middle East were supportive, but Dmitri S. Peskov, the spokesman for President Vladimir V. Putin, said the strikes represented a “significant blow” to American-Russian ties.
Putin considered the attack a breach of international law that had been made under a false pretext, Peskov said. Moscow also called on the United Nations Security Council to convene an emergency meeting, and the Russian Foreign Ministry said it was freezing an agreement with the United States to coordinate air operations over Syria.
“The Syrian Army has no chemical weapons at his disposal,” Peskov said, contradicting the position of the Trump administration and much of the international community, which has largely insisted that the Syrian military was responsible for the attack in Idlib Province this week.
The cruise missile strikes on Friday on an airfield in Al Shayrat, which were aimed at Syrian fighter jets and other infrastructure, also ignored the fact that “terrorists” had also used chemical weapons, Peskov said, without naming specific instances.
A correspondent on the ground in Syria for Rossiya 24, the main Russian state-run satellite news channel, filed video from the air base. The damage included nine airplanes destroyed and shrapnel littering the runway, the reporter, Evgeny Poddubny, said. He also posted a picture on his Instagram account of at least one warplane that he said had not been damaged.
The assault on Tuesday on the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun killed more than 80 people and sickened hundreds more. Turkey said on Thursday that sarin, a banned nerve agent, had been used in the attack, one of the worst atrocities of the Syrian war.
Bahram Ghasemi, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said in a statement that his government condemned the American missile strikes, adding that they would lead to “the strengthening of failing terrorists” and complicate the situation in the region.
Ghasemi noted that Iran, as a major victim of chemical weapons attacks during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, condemned their use anywhere. But, he added, the accusations against Syria were as yet unproved.