Russia warns of striking Syria outside international resolutions, US threatens to strike again

Shayrat Airfield in Syria’s Homs province [US Department of Defence Handout via Reuters]
Russia and the United States have traded barbs at an ill-tempered emergency session of the UN Security Council called by Moscow after the US army launched a barrage of cruise missiles against a Syrian government airbase, Al-Jazeera said.

Syria’s army said six people were killed in the early hours of Friday morning after the US fired nearly 60 Tomahawk missiles at Shayrat airbase, in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town that killed scores of civilians earlier this week, Al-Jazeera added.

Vladimir Safronkov, Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, “strongly” condemned the US for what he called a “flagrant violation of international law and an act of aggression”.

“The consequences of this for regional and international stability could be extremely serious,” he told the Security Council.

Russia is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and has been bombing rebel-held areas in Syria since September 2015, Al-Jazeera explained.

For her part, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said the missile strikes were “fully justified” and warned that Washington was ready to take further military action, Al-Jazeera reported.

“The United States took a very measured step last night,” she told the council. “We are prepared to do more, but we hope it will not be necessary.” Al-Jazeera added.

Mounzer Mounzer, deputy Syrian ambassador to the UN, called the US strike a “barbaric, flagrant act of aggression” that will embolden “terrorist groups” to use chemical weapons in the future, according to Al-Jazeera.

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