Russia cautions US against unilateral action in Syria in wake of new claims
Iran Press TV
Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:12AM
Russia has cautioned the US against any unilateral action in Syria after Washington claimed Damascus may be preparing for a chemical attack.
On Wednesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov assured that Syrian army troops pose no threat to US forces, Russia's RIA news agency reported.
He also denounced US attacks on Syrian armed forces, saying "these actions are provocative in nature."
Earlier this month, a US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian SU-22, which was conducting an operation against Daesh militants on the outskirts of the city of Raqqah.
On two occasions in June and May, US warplanes targeted Syrian military forces near the town of At-Tanf, claiming they posed a threat to US forces, an allegation rejected by Damascus.
Elsewhere in his comments, Gatilov said the US statements accusing the Syrian government of a chemical weapons attack would hinder the intra-Syrian talks.
"These speculations are not backed up by anything. No one is putting forward any facts," he said.
The US statements are unacceptable, he said, adding, "This complicates the negotiation process, negatively affects the efforts being made in Astana and Geneva."
Earlier this week, a statement by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the US had "identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack" by the Syrian government, noting that it would "pay a heavy price" if such an assault took place.
Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis further said that Washington had seen "activity" at Shayrat airfield in Syria's Homs Province that "indicated active preparations for chemical weapons use."
Washington claimed that the air base had been used by Syria to conduct an alleged gas attack on the town of Khan Shaykhun in Syria's Idlib Province on April 4.
Using the incident as a pretext, the US carried out cruise missile strikes against Shayrat airfield on April 7.
Additionally, US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has said the US administration had issued a warning to Syria over a possible chemical weapons attack after seeing preparations similar to those in April.
On Tuesday, President President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, dismissed the US warning on a chemical attack plan, saying "such threats to Syria's legitimate leaders are unacceptable."
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