The Russian Defense Ministry has commented on a joint US, British and French missile strike on Syria, which took place on the day, when the OPCW experts are set to start a probe into allegations of a chemical attack in Douma, a claim denounced by Damascus as a provocation.
The Russian Defense Ministry stated that most missiles launched by the Western states on Syria had been downed by the Arab Republic’s air defenses while approaching their targets.
“The Syrian air defense system has been conducting an anti-air fight,” the ministry added.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Syria repelled the Western attack with air defense systems made in the USSR over 30 years ago.
“Syria’s means of air defense: S-125, S-200 air defense systems, [as well as] Buk and Kvadrat units were used in the repelling the missile strike.”
Syrian air defense forces have intercepted all 12 cruise missiles, which had been used to attack the Dumeir military airfield, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
Russia’s air defenses haven’t been used to repell the missile strike on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic, the military said.
“None of the cruise missiles launched by the US and its allies entered the zone of responsibility of the Russian air defenses, covering objects in Tartus [naval facility] and Hmeymim [airbase located in Latakia province],” the Russian Defense Ministry explained.
According to the Russian military, the massive missile strike on military and civilian infrastructure targets was conducted by US warships jointly with the UK and French air forces at 3:42-5:10 Moscow time.A total of 100 cruise and air-to-surface missiles were launched at targets in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry stated, noting that two US warships carried out the attack from the Red Sea, as well as tactical aviation over the Mediterranean Sea and B-1B bombers from al-Tanf area.
The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, has slammed the Western states’ move, saying that the strike “has been launched at the capital of a sovereign state that has been fighting for survival for years amid terrorist aggression.”
Earlier in the day, the United States, the United Kingdom and France launched missile strikes on a number of targets in Syria in response to an alleged chemical attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, which has been blamed on Damascus despite the launch of a probe into the incident. On Friday, the Russian Defense Ministry stated that it had proof that the “chemical attack” in Douma had been a provocation and had been staged by Western-backed NGOs, including the White Helmets.
While Pentagon chief James Mattis said that US airstrikes on Syria were a “onetime shot,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford told reporters that Washington had no more attacks planned at the moment.
According to Dunford, the United States utilized a normal conflict settlement channel with Russia and hadn’t coordinated targets before the airstrikes on Syria. At the same time, he said he was not aware “of any Russian activity,” when asked whether any Russian defenses had engaged US, French or British ships or missiles.When commenting on the possibility of a US missile strike on Syria after allegations accusing Damascus of a chemical attack in Douma, which has yet to be probed by international experts, the Russian Defense Ministry warned that Moscow would respond if its troops in Syria were threatened.
Russia’s military bases in Syria’s Latakia — the Hmeymim airbase and the Tartus naval facility — have been secured by S-400 and S-300 air defense systems, as well as a Pantsir-S1 surface-to-air missile system. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the S-400 and Pantsir systems provide air cover to the Russian aviation groupat Hmeymim, while the S-300s protect Russia’s naval facility.