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Russia seeks emergency UNSC session after US bombs Syrian base
April 7, 2017, 6:07 am

Entire cities have been destroyed by six years of intense warfare in Syria [Xinhua]

Russia has called for an emergency UN Security Council meeting after US missile strikes against a Syrian airfield killed atleast five Syrian troops and nearly destroyed the base.

“Russia will first of all demand an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council. This can be regarded as an act of aggression on the part of the US against a UN state,” Senator Victor Ozerov, the chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s Committee on Defense and Security, said on Friday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin feels the US strikes are an “aggression” against Syrian sovereignty, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

“President [Vladimir] Putin regards the US attacks on Syria as an aggression against a sovereign state in violation of the norms of international law, and under a trumped-up pretext at that,” Peskov said on Friday morning.

“Putin also sees the attacks on Syria by the US as an attempt to divert the international community’s attention from the numerous casualties among civilians in Iraq,” he added.

US secretary of state Rex Tillerson is due in Moscow on Wednesday.

On Thursday, two US warships fired dozens of cruise missiles from the eastern Mediterranean Sea at the airbase controlled by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

US officials said the action was in response to the poison gas attack in a rebel-held area on Tuesday.

The Syrian government has denied it was behind the chemical attack that killed atleast 70 people.

Syria “has not, did not and will not” use chemical weapons against Syrian people or even against terrorists, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said on Thursday.

Trump said: “Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians … Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched.”

“Initial indications are that this strike has severely damaged or destroyed Syrian aircraft and support infrastructure and equipment at Shayrat Airfield, reducing the Syrian government’s ability to deliver chemical weapons,” said Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis.

Moscow and Washington are on opposing sides of the divide in the protracted Syrian civil war. The US backs rebels fighting the Syrian government in Damascus.

In an interview with the New York Times on 26 March last year, Donald Trump said he thought “the approach of fighting Assad and Isis simultaneously was madness, and idiocy”.

“You can’t be fighting two people that are fighting each other, and fighting them together. You have to pick one or the other,” said Trump.

After his election victory, Trump told the Wall Street Journal: “I’ve had an opposite view of many people regarding Syria.”

He also said that if the US attacks Assad “we end up fighting Russia”.

In a stunning about-face, the Trump administration has now decided that they will back regime-change in Syria.

Meanwhile, Syrian rebels have welcomed the US attack while the Syrian government has called it an “aggression” that led to “losses.”

Talal Barazi, the governor of Homs province, said the US strikes were meant to “support the armed terrorists on the ground.”



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