Russia warns of ‘inevitable negative consequences’ following US air strikes on Syria
Friday - 07/04/2017 14:42
RUSSIA has suspended communication on a specialised military hotline designed to prevent conflict with the US following air strikes in Syria.
The “deconfliction line” between Russia and the US has been described as an imperfect but essential tool in times of tension. It’s a regular phone line staffed with a Russian-speaking colonel on the US side and is operated from a US base in Qatar speaking to Russian counterparts in Syria, AFP reports.
The line enabled the US to warn the Kremlin of impending air strikes on Thursday and was also used in February to stop a Russian strike on US jets it had mistaken for IS forces in a region of northern Syria.
On Friday, Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway said he hoped the line would remain open.
“The Department of Defense maintains the desire for dialogue through the flight safety channel,” he said.
“It is to the benefit of all parties operating in the air over Syria to avoid accidents and miscalculation, and we hope the Russian Ministry of Defense comes to this conclusion as well.”
Russia has reacted angrily at unilateral US action, calling it an act of “aggression” that will have “negative consequences”.
The Foreign Ministry called the attack an “irresponsible approach” that was being used to justify a premeditated attack.
“Seeking to justify military action Washington has totally distorted what had happened in Idlib. The US could not have failed to grasp the fact that the Syrian government troops did not use chemical weapons there. Damascus simply does not have them, as confirmed a number of times by qualified experts.
“It is obvious that the cruise missile attack was prepared in advance. Any expert understands that Washington’s decision on air strikes predates the Idlib events, which simply served as a pretext for a show of force.”