Washington: US President Donald Trump warned Russia on Wednesday that it should “get ready” for a missile strike on Syria in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack on civilians in the rebel-held city of Douma that Washington has blamed on the Syrian regime.
Since the suspected chemical bombing that killed 70 people in Douma on Saturday, Trump ramped up his threats to take military action in Syria, alleging Russian complicity in the attack, which both Moscow and Damascus have vehemently denied.
“Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’,” Trump tweeted. “You shouldn’t be partners with a ‘Gas Killing Animal’ who kills his people and enjoys it!”
The US President had described the Douma attack as “sick” and criticised Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran for supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He had threatened that there would be a “big price to pay” for the deaths.
The Syrian-American Medical Society said over 500 people had been found with symptoms “indicative of exposure to a chemical agent” and the World Health Organisation demanded access to the area to verify reports from its “health cluster” partners that 70 people had died, the BBC reported.
Yevgeny Serebrennikov, the first deputy chairman of the Russian upper house’s Defence Committee, said on Wednesday that Russia would respond immediately if its military in Syria gets hit by a possible US airstrike, according to Sputnik news agency.
After the attack, Trump and his Defence Secretary James Mattis cancelled travel plans. The US and Western allies said they agreed to work together.
Also, Russia used its veto to block a US resolution at the UN Security Council to set up an independent probe into the alleged chemical attack.