U.S. attack on Syria 'aggression against a sovereign state': Russian Federation

Moscow slammed the U.S. strike on a Syrian airbase Friday as "aggression against a sovereign state", and suspended a bilateral agreement to help avoid clashes in the skies over the war-torn country.

An initial battle damage assessment from the strikes was that 58 of the 59 missiles "severely degraded or destroyed" their intended targets, according to a U.S. defense official. "According to preliminary information, nine Syrian airplanes were destroyed", its correspondent said in a report from the base, broadcast hours after the strike at 0040 GMT on Friday.

The United States fired dozens of cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase earlier on Friday from which it said a deadly chemical weapons attack was launched this week.

The Russian foreign ministry announced the suspension of a memorandum signed with the United States in October 2015 which set up a hotline to avoid clashes between their air forces in Syrian airspace as they carried out separate bombing campaigns.

Syria's government and army denied any use of chemical weapons or involvement in the incident.

Rebels say there were no military positions in the targeted area in Khan Sheikhoun and that they have no chemical weapons.

What I would suggest in response, however, is to carry your concealed weapons (which you should be doing anyway) until we get a better sense of how Iran and Russian Federation intend to respond to the destruction of Shayrat Airfield.

The state TV said the attack was an "American aggression".

Hassan Haj Ali, commander of the Free Idlib Army rebel group, which fights under the FSA umbrella, told Reuters the strikes came at a "very important phase" and showed Syrians that "there is still humanity in this world".

It was unclear if that was related to the U.S. strikes.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the Syrian regime "bears the full responsibility for this development", adding that any use of chemical weapons "is unacceptable, can not go unanswered, and those responsible must be held accountable".

Moscow was informed that the strikes were imminent, but decided not to use its S-400 missile batteries, which cover much of Syria, to try to intercept the Tomahawks. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the US bombing was a warning to Assad's allies Russian Federation and Iran.

Moscow then called an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the strikes.

The 15 members of the Security Council failed Thursday night to reach agreement on a a new draft resolution against the Syrian government circulated by US, UK and French diplomats following Tuesday's chemical attack.

"Iran. condemns use of chemical weapons. but at the same time believes it is unsafe, destructive and a violation of worldwide laws to use it as an excuse to take unilateral actions", IRNA quoted Bahram Qasemi as saying.

Russian Federation was warned of the attack before it took place.

The U.S. missiles hit at 3:45 a.m. local time in Syria.

Konashenkov's statement said the attack was a "gross violation" of a US-Russian memorandum aimed at avoiding clashes over Syria. U.S. military spokesman Col. John Dorrain said the "deconfliction channel" had been effective and urged its continued use. The missiles destroyed aircraft, hardened hangars, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems and radar at the base.

  • Zachary Reyes