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Friday, October 7, 2016


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The Russian military on Thursday strongly warned the United States against striking the Syrian army, noting that its air defense weapons in Syria stand ready to fend off any attack.

The statement underlined high tensions between Moscow and Washington after the collapse of a U.S.-Russia-brokered Syria truce and the Syrian army's offensive on Aleppo backed by Russian warplanes.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said any U.S. strikes on areas controlled by Syrian President Bashar Assad's government could jeopardize the lives of Russian servicemen.

He said Moscow was worried by media reports alleging that Washington was pondering the possibility of striking Syrian army positions.

"I would recommend our colleagues in Washington to carefully weigh possible consequences of the fulfillment of such plans," Konashenkov said.

In Washington, State Department spokesman John Kirby said "We're looking at the full range of options here and those comments notwithstanding, we still have a responsibility as a government to consider all those options."

"I don't find them (comments like the warning) helpful to moving forward, to reach some sort of diplomatic solution here. But the Russians should speak for themselves and why they're saying that kind of thing," he said.

Russia responded with dismay to the U.S.-led coalition's air raid on Syrian army positions near Deir el-Zour that killed 60 Syrian soldiers on Sept. 17, rejecting the U.S. explanation that the attack was a mistake.

Konashenkov said "we have taken all the necessary measures to prevent any such 'mistakes' with regard to Russian servicemen and military facilities in Syria."

He said the range of Russia's S-300 and S-400 air defense missile systems deployed to Syria would be a "surprise" to any count
ry operating its aircraft over the country. 

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Konashenkov added that the Syrian army also has various Soviet- and Russian-built air defense missile systems, which have undergone modernization over the past year.

Since Russia has launched its air campaign in Syria in support of Assad's forces a year ago, the Russia and the U.S. militaries have maintained contacts to prevent any midair incidents between Russian warplanes and the aircraft from the U.S.-led coalition in the skies over Syria.

Konashenkov warned, however, that the Russian military won't have time to use the hotline if it sees missil

Credit to /hosted.ap.org


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