Putin compares Syria strike to US invasion of Iraq

Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinTrump administration praises UK sanctions on human rights abusers The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Supreme Court's unanimous decision on the Electoral College POTUS was briefed: Not paying attention is a different problem MORE says President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Anderson Cooper: Trump's Bubba Wallace tweet was 'racist, just plain and simple' Beats by Dre announces deal with Bubba Wallace, defends him after Trump remarks Overnight Defense: DOD reportedly eyeing Confederate flag ban | House military spending bill blocks wall funding 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.