Syria attacked 'just as it had a chance for peace' - Moscow

  • 14/04/2018

A Russian official says the air strikes by the US, France and the UK on targets in Syria have come at a time when the Middle Eastern country was just about to return to peace.

Syria has been engaged in a brutal civil war since 2011, with dictator Bashar al-Assad accused of several war crimes - including the use of illegal chemical weapons against civilians.

US President Donald Trump announced the latest attacks on Syrian targets were in response to a recent suspected chemical weapons attack on Douma.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova has condemned the military action.

"First, the Syrian people were subjected to Arab Spring, then Islamic State, now to 'smart' American missiles," says Ms Zakharova, according to Russian state media RT.

"[The US-led] strike was carried out on the capital of a sovereign state, which for many years has been trying to survive under the threat of terror."

She blamed "all those who claim moral leadership in this world, who declare their exceptionalism" for the attack, noting that "you should be really exceptional" to attack Syria at a time "when it was given a chance for a peaceful future".

Ms Zakharova also claims Western media is partly responsible for the attacks.

Anatoly Antonov, the Russian Ambassador to the US, says the military action threatens Russia - and there will be consequences.

"A pre-designed scenario is being implemented. Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences," says a statement from Mr Antonov published on RT.

"All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris."

Meanwhile, Syrian state TV announced Mr Assad's forces have shot down 13 missiles in the Kiswah area south of Damascus, the capital.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says a total of three scientific research centres were hit in the attacks, in addition to military bases in Damascus.

However, the Observatory says the facilities were evacuated by the Syrian government days before.