Russia Is Jamming US Drones in Syria, NBC Reports

Russia Is Jamming US Drones in Syria, NBC Reports

Kerry Wise
April 11, 2018

A top Russian lawmaker warned on Tuesday that Moscow could respond with military force to a potential US strike on Syria in the wake of a deadly chemical weapon attack.

Mr Trump said Monday he would "forcefully" respond to an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria and would soon decide how.

Mr. Trump should keep lines of communication open to Mr. Putin, for if there is a summit and there is a thaw, Mr. Putin can help to contain the damage in Syria.

Last year, the US carried out airstrikes against an airfield outside Homs after the Syrian regime was found to use chemical weapons.

Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the United States of wanting the resolution to fail "to justify the use of force against Syria".

This is the 12th time Russian Federation has used its veto power at the council to block action targeting Syria.

Earlier Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the United States is not ruling out military action against Syria.

"There are no doubt Iranian facilities inside Syria that could be vulnerable to attack", said Winnefeld.

The attack came hours after President Donald Trump warned there would be a "big price to pay" after a suspected poison gas attack Saturday on the last remaining foothold for Syrian rebels in the eastern suburbs of Damascus.

Doctors and eyewitnesses have said victims showed symptoms of poisoning, possibly by a nerve agent, and reported the smell of chlorine gas.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Assad's Government and its backers, including Russian Federation, "must be held to account" if it is found to have been responsible for the suspected poison gas attack.

Experts on Syria's war cited France and perhaps even Britain and Middle East allies as potential partners in any US military operation, which would aim to discourage future chemical weapons use in Syria's brutal civil war.

The attack contemplated by the Trump administration would be "symbolic" and created to "send a message", Barbero said.

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Employee Vadim Lavrusik followed up his original tweet , revealing employees were safely evacuated and were outside the building. In a tweet, the president offered "thoughts and prayers" for everyone involved, along with thanks to first responders.

But the incident has thrust Syria's seven-year-old conflict back to the forefront of global concern and has pitted Washington and Moscow against each other again.

Trump said: "We have a lot of options militarily".

Assad's government and Russian Federation have said there was no evidence a gas attack had taken place and that the claim was bogus.

Any potential USA strike is likely to involve naval assets, given the risk to aircraft from Russian and Syrian air defence systems.

Syria became a member in 2013 as part of a deal brokered by the US and Russian Federation after a chemical attack in eastern Ghouta killed hundreds of people. "Most likely, it will look like something between last year's tomahawk salvo and the more sustained three-day assault of Operation Desert Fox in 1998".

"The U.S. military maintains sufficient countermeasures and protections to ensure the safety of our manned and unmanned aircraft, our forces and the missions they support", said Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon.

The British government is also discussing military intervention with its allies in Syria in response to the alleged attack. Most members of Congress - Democrats as well as his fellow Republicans - praised Trump after the strike a year ago.

And the Syrian envoy, Bashar Jaafari, said Syria had no chemical weapons stockpiles.

France and Britain also condemned the suspected attack by the Syrian government on the rebel-held area on April 7, and may also take action.

"I am deeply concerned about the continuing massive displacement of close to 700,000 Syrians since the beginning of the year due to ongoing hostilities in the country", the United Nations official managing the crisis response said in a statement.

As western leaders mull a response, Trump Monday discussed possible military action that could be taken during a Cabinet meeting with military leaders.

The White House deliberations came as Russian Federation and the Syrian military blamed Israel for a pre-dawn missile attack on a major air base in central Syria, saying Israeli fighter jets launched missiles from Lebanon's air space. TASS news agency quoted him as saying he believed common sense would prevail. He said the jammers were initially detected as faint signals from space, bouncing off the earth's surface. They include sea-launched cruise missiles aboard ships within range of Syria. It is now operating off Lebanon alongside US ships as part of France's military contingent fighting Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.

Around 60 civilians sheltering basements were killed and over a thousand were wounded, according to medical teams.