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Russia knew about President Donald Trump-ordered US airstrikes on Syrian airbase in Homs on Friday. Pentagon in a statement said that US had informed Russia ahead of the cruise missile strike on Syria’s al-Shayrat airfield. “US did not target sections of the base where Russian forces were believed to be present,” Pentagon said. The US military also said that according to early indications, US missile strike had reduced Syrian government’s “ability to deliver chemical weapons.”
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also elaborated on Russia’s role in containing chemical warfare in Syria. “Russia failed to carry out 2013 agreement to secure Syrian chemical weapons. Moscow was either complicit or incompetent in its ability to carry out agreement,” he said. In the six-year-long civil war that has plagued Syria and left thousands of people dead, Russia has consistently acted as a Syrian ally.
Friday’s airstrike came after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime was accused of using suspected nerve gas on innocent civilians in the rebel-held areas of Idlib on Wednesday. The chemical gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun town had left 80 dead, at least 20 of which were children. The attack was condemned across the globe by world leaders including US President Donald Trump.
While US, EU and Britain blamed the Syrian government for using chemical weapons on civilians, Russia denied such claims saying a rebel storehouse with chemical warfare was hit by a Syrian airstrike leading to the chemical attack. The statement was met by strong reaction at the UN Security Council which saw other world powers blaming Assag regime for the attack.