Russia says it has voiced alarm over signs that the US may conduct a new military attack against Syria, warning Washington against any such “baseless and unlawful aggression” under the pretext of punishing Damascus for a possible false-flag gas attack.
The Russia embassy in the US said in a posting on its Facebook page on Thursday that Moscow’s Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov had issued the warning during a meeting earlier this week with US Special Representative for Syria Engagement James F. Jeffrey and Acting Assistant Secretary David Satterfield.
Antonov said he had officially conveyed Russia’s concerns to the American officials over reports that Washington, along with London and Paris, is gearing up for another strike on Syria.
The Russian envoy also stressed that he had called on the US to immediately provide facts to substantiate its allegations that Damascus is using chemical weapons.
“The main thing is that we expressed our concerns about American signals of preparing new strikes on Syria on the pretext of possible use of íchemical weaponsí by Syrians,” he said. “We stressed that such a prospect is of grave concern for us. We called Washington to provide undelayed facts on the reasons why the topic with the use of chemical weapons by Damascus is further fueled.”
Washington’s rhetoric, he added, may prompt terrorist groups and “pseudo-humanitarian” organizations operating in Syria to carry out a chemical attack in militant-held Idlib Province and pin the blame on the Damascus government.
Antonov also stressed that a possible provocation by the Jabhat al-Nusra terror outfit “with the active participation of the British intelligence forces can serve as a pretext for the Western ítroikaí (the US, Britain and France) to launch another airstrike against Syrian military and civil infrastructure.”
“We warned the US not to engage in another baseless and unlawful aggression against Syria. The new aggravation in Syria would not be in anyone’s national interest and only terrorist would benefit from it. We expect our concerns to be heard. We hope that the US will take all possible efforts to prevent the use of toxic agents by terrorists and will act responsibly, like a permanent member of the UN Security Council,” he pointed out.
Missile strike ‘imminent’
Separately on Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned that the US is likely making preparations for a missile strike against Syria in 24 hours.
Washington "may build up missile capabilities for strikes on Syria just over 24 hours,” she said, adding that the US, Britain and France have stationed strategic and tactical aircraft at airbases in Jordan, Kuwait and the Greek island of Crete.
“It consists of about 70 carriers, around 380 airborne cruise missiles and also two US destroyers Carney and Ross, with each carrying 28 Tomahawks on its board,” Zakharova said.
On Tuesday, Syria provided the UN with evidence revealing Takfiri terroristsí plot to carry out a chemical attack in the country in order to give the US a pretext for an airstrike.
Russia has also warned of militant attempts to once again set the stage for a gas attack as the Syrian army prepares for a liberation operation in Idlib, the last major terrorist bastion in the Arab country.
On April 14, the US, Britain and France launched a coordinated missile strike against sites and research facilities near Damascus and Homs with the purported goal of paralyzing the Syrian government’s capability to produce chemicals.
The strike came one week after an alleged gas attack hit the Damascus suburb town of Douma, just as the Syrian army was about to win the battle against the militants there.
Western states blamed the Syrian government for the incident, but Damascus firmly rejected the accusation.