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Russia: 'No civilian or military casualties in Syria strikes'

Russia has taken aim at the US-led strikes on Syria [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 14 April, 2018

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Russia has downplayed the US-UK-French strikes on Syria, saying there were no casualties in the bombing with Moscow informed before the intervention.
Russia has downplayed a series of US-led strikes on military and chemical weapons facilities in Syria, after a week of warnings against the West from carrying out intervention.

Moscow claimed there were no casualties from the military action and that regime defences shot down the majority of the cruise missiles.

The US, France and UK launched a barrage of cruise missiles on three chemical weapons sites inside Syria early Saturday morning local time.

This was in response to a toxic gas attack on an opposition enclave last week, which killed at least 40 civilians.

The strikes by the US allies were less extensive than expected and appear to have targeted three chemical weapons facilities in Damascus and Homs province.

Russia, a key Syrian regime ally, has downplayed the strikes and praised Damascus' defensive capibilities.

"According to preliminary information, there were no victims among peaceful civilians and the Syrian military," senior military officer Sergei Rudskoi said.

"All together, 103 cruise missiles were deployed... 71 cruise missiles were intercepted."

Syria relies on Russian and Soviet-built air defence systems, while much of its other military equipment is supplied by Moscow.

Rudskoi said that Russian upgrades to Syria's S-200 systems and Buk missiles helped Damascus down some of the cruise missiles.

The lack of casualties were the result of the "excellent skills of the Syrian military trained by our specialists", he added.

Russia uses the more modern S-300 and S-400 anti-aircraft defence systems at its airbase in Latakia, while the Assad regime has only access to more inferior systems. 

Rudskoi now says that Saturday's attacks will make Moscow rethink its decision not to supply the Syrian regime with the S-300.

The EU convinced Russia not to sell the more powerful system to Damascus in 2013.

"Considering what has happened, we consider it possible to reassess this question and not just as far as concerns Syria, but other countries too," he said.

Russia has agreed to sell the S-400 to other countries in the region, including Turkey.

Syrian state media claimed that its air defences had shot down the majority of the cruise missiles fired by the US, UK and France.

However, the low casualty rate is likely due to prior warning from the Western allies and the targets all being military-linked.

France said it informed Russia prior to the attacks, to defuse tensions and Damascus was likely told by Moscow giving it time to evacuate bases and beef up defences.

Agencies contributed to this story.


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