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Russia Vows to ‘Shoot Down’ US Missiles Targeting Syria

Any US missiles fired at Syria will be shot down, Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon warned on Tuesday, as international powers scrambled to make a unified response to a deadly chemical attack in the war-torn country.

Missiles shot into the war-torn country by US fighter jets will be targeted along with their launch sites, Amb. Alexander Zasypkin said, referring to a statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian chief of staff.

“If there is a strike by the Americans then … the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired” will be targeted, he told Hizballah’s al-Manar TV on Tuesday evening.

The comments came as the US maintained the threat of missile strikes on Wednesday in response to apparent chemical attacks in Syria, despite the risk of triggering a head-on clash with Damascus ally Russia.

Trump has made it clear he plans to make the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, and perhaps his Russian and Iranian backers, pay for the latest alleged toxic gas atrocity that killed 40 in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma.

Trump has warned there would be a “big price to pay”, and Washington’s UN ambassador Nikki Haley made it clear that the failure to secure a Security Council vote would not hold America and its allies back.

Moscow’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused Haley of seeking a vote to provide cover for a Western military strike on Assad, which now seems all the more likely.

“If you took the decision to carry out an illegal military adventure, and we do hope that you will come to your senses, well then you will have to bear responsibility for it,” he said.

Russia vetoed the resolution – the 12th such time Moscow has used its veto power at the council to block action targeting its Syrian ally.

In 2017, Trump launched a cruise missile strike against a Syrian air base in retaliation for a sarin attack the UN later pinned on Assad.

Syria’s government has denied accusations of using banned weapons such as chlorine or sarin throughout the country’s civil war. 

Douma has been heavily bombed by the regime and Russia making it extremely difficult for media, including AFP, to independently verify the claims.

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said Tuesday the OPCW should be granted unfettered access to investigate.

 

 

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