Putin compares Syria strike to US invasion of Iraq

Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinTime for jaw-to-jaw with Moscow Hillicon Valley: Colonial pipeline is back online, but concerns remain | Uber, Lyft struggle with driver supply | Apple cuts controversial hire Menendez calls on Biden to support Armenia amid rising tensions with Azerbaijan MORE says President TrumpDonald TrumpFranklin Graham says Trump comeback would 'be a very tough thing to do' Man suspected in wife's disappearance accused of casting her ballot for Trump Stefanik: Cheney is 'looking backwards' MORE’s recent missile strikes in Syria mirror the start of the second Iraq War.

“We say that this resembles very much the situation of 2003 and the war in Iraq,” Putin said Tuesday during a press conference in Moscow.

“First of all, there was a campaign launched in Iraq and it finished with the destruction of the country, the growth of the terrorist threat and the emergence of [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] on the international arena.”


Putin also claimed, without evidence, that there are plans to fake the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

“We have information that a similar provocation is being prepared … in other parts of Syria, including in the southern Damascus suburbs where they are planning to again plant some substance and accuse the Syrian authorities of using [chemical weapons],” he said alongside Italian President Sergio Mattarella during the latter’s visit to Moscow.

Putin added Russia possesses information that the U.S. planning to launch new missile strikes in Syria less than one week after the April 7 attack against Shayrat Air Base near the Syrian city of Homs.

Moscow, which has long supported President Bashar Assad during Syria’s raging civil war, condemned the move as an act of “aggression” from the U.S.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in Russia Tuesday for his first visit there since joining Trump’s administration.

Tillerson is expected to discuss several thorny issues during his trip, including Syria, Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election and fighting ISIS.