Russia, Iran, and Syria warn of 'grave consequences' for further U.S. strikes


In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that OPCW inspectors should visit both the Syrian air base, which the US said served as a platform for the attack, and Khan Sheikhoun to get a full and objective picture.

Russian Federation accused the United States of breaking global law with the strike against the Syrian regime, a key ally that Moscow has supported with air strikes since 2015.

Deploring Washington's unilateral action against Syria, the three ministers stressed the need for the formation of a fact-finding committee to probe into the chemical attack that the United States blames on Damascus.

A Syrian child receives treatment following a suspected toxic gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun, a rebel-held town in the northwestern Syrian Idlib province, on 4 April 2017.

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Tension between Russian Federation and the US has heightened following the missile strike launched last Friday by the USA against the Shayrat Air Base in central Syria, with Moscow announcing suspending the flight safety agreement with Washington.

While no intercepts were found confirming that the Kremlin spoke about the attack before it happened, the official reportedly said that Russian Federation likely takes more measures than Syria to avoid being intercepted.

He said such visual evidence doesn't make it "clear whether it happened or not".

"How can you verify a video? You have a lot of fake videos now, and you have the proof that those videos were fake". He continued, "We don't know whether those dead children were killed in Khan Sheikhun. Were they dead at all?"

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Iran, Russia and Syria deny that the authorities in Damascus were behind the attack, in which more than 80 people were killed and hundreds injured.

Mr Assad told AFP that the Syrian government gave up its arsenal of chemical weapons in 2013, adding "even if we have them, we wouldn't use them".

He added that Syria after the US strike will not be the same as before the strike, with Trump administration sending a message that the USA will have a say in how could the crisis be resolved in Syria. That deal staved off the threat of military intervention from former U.S. President Barack Obama, who had drawn a so-called "red line" on the use of chemical weapons on which he did not ultimately follow through. "Notwithstanding their use in more than 50 occasions of chlorine bombs, cluster bombs and other types of weapons that are meant to main and kill in the most horrific ways".

In his Wednesday interview with AFP, Assad similarly said his nation would allow only an "impartial" investigation.

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"So I am dismayed that Russian Federation has once again blocked the UN Security Council and in so doing refused to condemn the use of chemical weapons or support a full UN investigation into the attack".