Russia Says Priority in Syria to Avert Danger of War

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban

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 President Bashar Assad's government, threatening his seat of power with missiles and potential advances for years. The ministry additionally pointed to previous alleged use of chemicals by the rebels in fighting with Syrian government troops.

The UK [VIDEO]has called the Russian propaganda a "grotesque, blatant lie", stating that the UK had nothing to do with Saturday's chemical attack.

Russia's ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, warned that there would be consequences for the US -led military strikes on Syria, adding that it was not acceptable to insult Russia's president.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she supported the military action.

Syria's Foreign Ministry condemned the airstrikes as a "flagrant violation of the global law".

The attack destroyed a building that includes a learning centre and laboratories, state TV said.

"There is every reason to believe that after the US strikes on Syria, the Americans will be eager to move to a strategic dialogue", Interfax news agency quoted Vladimir Ermakov, head of the foreign ministry's department for non-proliferation and arms control, as saying.

"The morning of resilience", declared a caption accompanying the video circulated on the presidency's Telegram feed.

In a televised address announcing the action, Trump said he had made a decision to take action because last weekend's action by Assad "was a significant attack against his own people", and "not the actions of a man, they are crimes of a monster instead".

"The goal of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons", Trump said.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis called the strikes a "one time shot" and said that they were aimed at Syrian government's chemical weapons infrastructure.

The strikes - the strongest concerted action yet by Western forces in Syria - were launched at 9 p.m. ET, as most of Europe and the Middle East was shrouded in darkness.

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Russian air defenses, stationed at a naval base and an airfield, were not triggered by any of the allied attacks.

A meeting of the North Atlantic Council will be held Saturday afternoon, a NATO official told CNN. As a result, Washington, and its allies - France and the United Kingdom - fired missiles on the Syrian facilities, which they claimed were linked with chemical weapons production.

"We did have some surface-to-air missile activity from the Syrian regime", General and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford said at a Pentagon briefing. "This was not about interfering in a civil war". The military action is a response to an apparent chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of people earlier this month.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned that such an attack could spin out of control, suggesting caution in advance of a decision on how to respond to an attack against civilians last weekend that US officials are increasingly certain involved the use of banned chemical weapons. Britain says Russian Federation is behind the Salisbury poisoning, a charge Moscow denies.

It seeks answers from Syria on gaps in its chemical weapons declaration to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Trump had also said last week that Putin bore responsibility for the "atrocity" in Douma. Moscow alleged soon after the suspected April 7 attack that the images of the victims in Douma were fakes.

Russian Federation and Syria also clashed with the three Western allies over the legality of the airstrikes and responsibility for the Security Council's paralysis.

The Russian leader warned against "ill-considered and unsafe actions ... that would have consequences beyond conjecture".

On Thursday, US officials said they had blood and urine samples from victims which had tested positive for chlorine and a nerve agent, according to a NBC News report.

He accused Washington of putting worldwide peace at risk and said the situation was "very dangerous".

London expects Russia's "revenge" for its position concerning the poisoning Skipala and strike on Assad's forces in Syria.

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