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Robert Namer
Voice Of America
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APRIL 10, 2017

     Attacking your own people is terrorism and threatens global security - it must be stopped.  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke by phone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Saturday about the situation in Syria following Thursday's strikes on a Syrian air base, Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a post on its official Facebook page.  "Lavrov stressed that an attack on a country whose government is fighting terrorism only plays into the hands of extremists [and] creates additional threats to regional and global security," it said.

    President Donald Trump ordered a missile strike against the air base earlier this week, targeting it because the Syrian jets that carried out the bombing of a rebel stronghold with chemical weapons Tuesday originated there, US officials said. The attack injured hundreds, killing nearly 90 people, including almost 20 women and more than 30 children, according to Syrian health officials and Syrian Civil Defense volunteers.

     Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs added that Lavrov emphasized on the call that the allegations of chemical weapons use by the Syrian military "do not correspond to reality" and called for a "thorough and impartial" investigation into the incident.  In an earlier statement, the Kremlin said Syria "has no chemical weapons," pointing to reports by UN inspectors.  "(Russian President) Vladimir Putin believes that complete disregard for factual information about the use by terrorists of chemical weapons drastically aggravates the situation," the statement said. "This move by Washington has dealt a serious blow to Russian-US relations, which are already in a poor state."

     The Russian Defense Ministry said Friday that it plans to bolster and increase the effectiveness of the air defense system in Syria following the attack.
"In order to protect the most sensitive objects of the Syrian infrastructure, a system of measures to bolster and increase the effectiveness of the Syrian armed forces' air defense systems will be implemented," ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement carried on state media.

     Russia is playing their best hand - make the other side look back.

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