Russia, Syria to bring 17 eyewitnesses of events in Douma to OPCW

A map showing the military control over Damascus – April 21. 2018

A map showing the military control over Damascus – April 21. 2018

An alleged attack using illegal chemical weapons was used to justify airstrikes on the Syrian capital by the United States, France and Britain. Rudskoi did not specify the type of weapons, but his remarks follow reports in the Russian media that Moscow is considering selling its S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Syria.

Top officials in Russian Federation said it might reconsider its pledge a decade ago not to provide Syria with the S-300 system.

The fact-finding mission (FFM) arrived in Damascus on April 14, but was delayed by a week before it could get to sites it deemed of interest. Russia's bases in the country have elements of each system, but so far Moscow has not attempted to stop USA airstrikes on its ally.

The OPCW does not assign blame for chemical attacks and there is now no mechanism that can do so after Russian Federation vetoed a resolution to extend the mandate of a United Nations-OPCW mission in November.

Against this backdrop, Israel is warning Russian Federation that air defense systems to be delivered to Syria will be in the Israeli air force's cross hairs.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Tuesday if Syria uses Russian-made air defense missiles against Israel, the Israeli military would strike back.

"Russian specialists will continue training Syrian military personnel, as well as assist in the development of new air defense systems, the deliveries of which will be carried out in the near future", Rudskoy told the news agency.

An administration official confirms to CNN that the flights took place and the US and Israel are both concerned the cargo could potentially include weapons that could eventually be used to threaten Israel.

Israel has not taken sides in the Syrian civil war, but its air force has carried out dozens of airstrikes during the fighting, a lot of them believed to have been aimed at suspected arms shipments to Hezbollah.

Israel has recently warned Iran against any moves to augment its military presence in Syria, where Iranian military advisers and militias have long provided critical support to Assad in his seven-year civil war against Sunni rebels.

Iran-allied Syrian forces shooting down an Israeli F-16 fighter jet by Syrian forces and the infiltration of Israeli airspace by an alleged Iranian drone prompted Israel to strike targets linked to the Islamic Republic in February.

Israel and Russian Federation have maintained close contact to prevent any clashes between their forces in the skies over Syria.

Lieberman acknowledged that the S-300 systems were already being used in Syria, but only in defense of Russian assets.

Also, the Pentagon says Syria fired 40 interceptors, meaning it's virtually impossible that 71 missiles were downed, as it takes at least one interceptor to down a missile. "The only ones to act against us are the Syrians".

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