The storm of international reactions following the US missile attack on a Syrian air base on Friday shows no sign of abating.
In a latest reaction to the US missile strikes against Assad’s regime in Syria, Russian Foreign Ministry has announced that Russia has suspended its memorandum of understanding on air safety over Syria with the United States.
“Russia suspends the memorandum on the prevention of incidents and ensuring air safety during operations in Syria reached with the US,” the ministry said in a statement.
“We’re urging the UN Security Council to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the current situation,” the ministry said.
The ministry also added that it considers that the strike was prepared in advance and that Washington has made a decision on missile strike on Syria prior to developments in Idlib province.
The US strike in Syria is an attempt to distract attention from the situation in Iraq’s Mosul, the statement said.
“Undoubtedly, the US strike is an attempt to divert attention from the situation in Mosul where hundreds of civilians lost their lives due to actions, including by the US-led coalition, and the humanitarian disaster is mounting,” the ministry said.
“Apparently, the US cruise missile strike was prepared in advance,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “It is clear to any specialist that a decision on carrying out the strikes was made in Washington prior to the developments in Idlib, which were just used as a pretext for demonstrating strength”.
According to the Trump administration, the US strike on Syrian targets was a response to the alleged chemical weapon use in Idlib on Tuesday, which the US is blames on Bashar al-Assad.
Russia has backed the Syrian regime over chemical attack allegations, but supported a UN sponsored investigation. This is not the first time Assad’s regime was accused of using chemical weapons against civilians.
The Ghouta chemical attack in 2013 killed at least several hundred people. The attack caused the Obama administration to consider a full-scale military intervention in Syria. While the Syrian regime denied the involvement and accused the rebels for the attack, Syria subsequently agreed to destroy its chemical arsenal.
The UN investigation did not reach conclusive evidence that the regime is behind the attack, but the West kept insisting that Assad’s forces were responsible.
Less than four years later, Assad stands accused of another chemical attack against civilians, although his regime is in a considerably better military situation after liberating Aleppo and driving of the rebels from important strongholds in Western Syria.