Syria attacked 'just as it had a chance for peace' - Moscow

Syria attacked 'just as it had a chance for peace' - Moscow

A strike was carried out on the capital of a sovereign state, which for many years has been trying to survive under the threat of terror, ' Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said.

United States statements that Damascus has denied entry to Eastern Ghouta for experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are far from reality, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Saturday at an annual Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy. The Russians accused the White Helmets and "other pseudo-humanitarian organizations headquartered in the United Kingdom and U.S." of working "hand in glove with terrorists" to provoke military action against Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

U.S. President Donald Trump has blamed the attack on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying there wasn't "much of a doubt" he was behind the strike.

"First the "Arab spring" tested the Syrian people, then Islamic State (in Iraq and Syria), now smart American rockets".

Russia's foreign minister claimed on Friday that a suspected chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma last weekend was staged with the help of an unspecified foreign intelligence agency.

Russian Federation and the United States are using their channels of communications on Syria, according to Lavrov.

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Lavrov noted that Russian and US militaries have a hotline to prevent incidents, adding that it's not clear if it would be sufficient amid mounting tensions. "We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences".

The strike came about after Syrian forces cleared of terrorist groupings all of Eastern Ghouta, which had become stronghold of salafist militants with the backing of Washington, London and Paris. "The US - the possessor of the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons - has no moral right to blame other countries".

Damascus has invited a team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to visit Eastern Ghouta.

The air strikes on Syria are a violation of worldwide law and are likely meant to prevent investigators from the global chemical weapons watchdog from doing their work, a senior Russian lawmaker was quoted by Interfax as saying on Saturday.

The Russian Defence Ministry said Saturday that none of the Western strikes in Syria had hit areas near to Russia's air and naval bases.