Will Russia Retaliate Against The US After The Syria Missile Strike?
Hours after President Trump ordered 59 Tomahawk missiles to be aimed at a Syria airfield, Russia indicated that it's not pleased. Condemning the airstrike early Friday morning, the Kremlin released a statement calling the attack an "aggression against a sovereign state" and claimed that it violated federal law.
Russia denies that Tuesday's chemical attack on innocent civilians in Syria was done at the hands of President Bashar al-Assad's regime, as U.S. officials believe. Instead, the Kremlin claims Syrian forces hit a rebel chemical arsenal, causing the banned nerve agent called sarin to be released.
In the aftermath of the airstrike, Russia has also called for a United Nations Security Council meeting on the U.S. missile strikes against Syria. Furthermore, it has put an end to an agreement between it and the United States to avoid clashes in air space over Syria.
In addition to Russia, Iran has also spoken out against the United States' decision to target Syria following Tuesday's gas attack. However, it's worth noting that these reactions had to have been expected — at least to some extent — by the Trump administration, as Iran and Russia have been allies to Syria and have continued to stand by Assad throughout the violence.
U.S. officials reportedly alerted Russia of the airstrike before it happened to avoid any monumental conflict. Capt. Jeff Davis, a spokesman for the Pentagon, confirmed the precaution in a statement:
Russian forces were notified in advance of the strike using the established deconfliction line. U.S. military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield.
The United States may have tried to give Russia a heads-up, but that doesn't take away from the fact that both U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson condemned Russia's support of the Syrian regime that allegedly gassed its own people (though it denies any involvement).
"How many more children have to die before Russia cares?" Haley asked at a U.N. Security Council meeting on Wednesday. "The U.S. sees yesterday's attack as a disgrace at the highest level — an assurance that humanity means nothing to the Syrian government."
Still, there's reason to believe that other countries will stand up against Syrian allies. For example, Britain, Turkey, and Australia have all praised the U.S. airstrike as being a proportionate response to the violence in Syria, which is largely being considered a crime against humanity.