Russia warns US against striking Syrian regime
The Russian military on Thursday strongly warned the United States against striking Syrian regime targets.
“A number of influential Western media published leaks on discussion in the White House administration of a possibility to deliver missile and air strikes on the positions of Syrian troops,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in comments carried by Russian news agency TASS.
“History shows that often such injections turn out to be a prologue of real actions,” he said. “I would recommend colleagues in Washington to thoroughly analyze the consequences of implementation of such plans.”
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that administration officials are discussing military options for Syria after efforts to revive a U.S.-Russia brokered cease-fire failed.
Among the options are to target Syrian air force runways using cruise missiles and other long-range weapons from outside of Syria, according to the Post.
The chances of President Obama approving military action are seen as slim, however.
Russia this week deployed an S-300 air defense system to its navy base in Syria.
In his Thursday comments, Konashenkov warned that the system’s capabilities “may prove a surprise to any unidentified flying object.”
“As for the laymen’s illusions about the existence of ‘invisible planes,’ they may confront a disappointing reality,” he said in an apparent reference to U.S. stealth aircraft.
Since Russia intervened in Syria a year ago, the U.S. and Russian militaries have communicated to ensure aircraft from the two countries don’t collide mid-air.
Konashenkov said Russian forces won’t have time to use that communications line if it sees the Syrian regime being targeted.
“The crews on duty will hardly have the time to calculate the missiles’ flight path or try to find out their nationality,” he said.
Further, Russia has also taken steps to guard against an incident similar to the one in Deir Ezzor last month, Konashenkov said.
“And finally,” he said, “I draw attention of ‘hotheads’ that after a strike on Syrian troops in Deir Ezzor by planes of the coalition on Sept. 17, we have taken all necessary measures to rule out any such ‘mistakes’ against Russian military and military facilities in Syria,”
On Sept. 17, the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) hit Syrian forces.
The United States has said the intended target was ISIS and that it is investigating the incident. Russia has said the strike killed at least 62 people and injured 100 more.