Russia: US strikes on Syria 'play into hands of extremists'

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By Euronews
Russia: US strikes on Syria 'play into hands of extremists'

Russia’s foreign minister has said that last week’s US missile strikes on a Syrian military airbase plays “into the hands of extremists” and further threaten regional and global stability.

The comments from Sergei Lavrov came in a phone conversation with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Saturday.

The Russian and American ministers are due to meet in Moscow this week.

On Friday Russia warned the move would further damage ties with Washington.

On Sunday the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson questioned Russia’s motives in Syria, saying it had failed to prevent Damascus from carrying out a chemical attack on a rebel-held town.

“Clearly they are Bashar al-Assad’s current ally, they should have the greatest influence on Bashar al-Assad and certainly his decisions to use chemical weapons, they should have the greatest influence on him, to cause him to no longer use those. I hope that Russia is thinking carefully about its continued alliance with Bashar al-Assad because every time one of this horrific attack occurs, it draws Russia closer in to some level of responsibility,” Tillerson said in a TV interview.

Turkey, which welcomed the US strikes, joined in the criticism of Russia on Sunday.

Its Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he had told his Russian counterpart that Moscow had failed to prevent breaches in the Syrian ceasefire.

As the issue echoed across the Middle East, Iran’s President Rouhani slammed Donald Trump on Sunday for attacking Syria without UN backing

“How does the US president allow himself to attack an independent country in the sensitive region of the Middle East… without the permission of the United Nations, without a meeting of the UN Security Council and even without the permission of the US Congress?” Rouhani asked during a ceremony to mark Iran’s National Day of Nuclear Technology.

The Iranian leader also criticised other countries in the region for supporting the US action, saying “your turn will come too”.

Saudi Arabia as well as Turkey welcomed the US attack.

An earlier version of this story cited a Reuters report containing a purported comment from a joint Iranian/Russian group. Euronews now believes this report to be incorrect. We apologise sincerely for this error.