Russian Federation 'severely condemns' attack on Syria

Russian Federation 'severely condemns' attack on Syria

Russia's ambassador to the United States says there will be consequences for the military strikes, adding that it was not acceptable to insult Russia's president.

The US and its allies believe the Syrian regime was behind the attack, but Russian Federation has long insisted it was staged by rebels in an attempt to provoke further Western intervention.

Konashenkov said the Syrian rescue group known as the White Helmets were instructed by London in the days before the attack to plan a "provocation", Tass reported. The strikes were a response to a suspected chemical weapons attack on the Syrian town of Douma last weekend which killed dozens of civilians.

Wednesday: Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russian military inspectors found no evidence of a chemical attack.

"It's.highly likely an attempt to create complications for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) mission which was just starting its work in Syria's Douma, or an attempt to completely derail it", Interfax quoted Kosachev as saying. The ministry additionally pointed to previous alleged use of chemicals by the rebels in fighting with Syrian government troops.

Syrian army declares capturing last rebel bastion in Eastern Ghouta
The Syrian Observatory for Human rights, a British-based war monitoring group, says the campaign killed more than 1,600 civilians. Assad had made the reconquest of Eastern Ghouta a strategic goal.

Lavrov noted that Russian and US militaries have a hotline to prevent incidents, adding that it's not clear if it would be sufficient amid mounting tensions.

The overnight strikes hit three sites - one in Damascus and two in Homs - which US President Donald Trump said were "associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad". Syria's civil war, which began as a popular uprising against Assad, is now in its eighth year.

The claim comes after a week in which Russian diplomats and military officers denied the attack happened, blamed the rebels for attacking themselves and accused foreign intelligence operatives.

"No CW traces, no victims to be found anywhere, but plenty of empty words and accusations", said Zakharova.

Douma and the sprawling eastern Ghouta region near the capital, Damascus, had been under rebel control since 2012 and was a thorn in the side of Assad's government, threatening his seat of power with missiles and potential advances for years.

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