US did not violate red lines during Syria strikes, says Russia


USA military strikes on Syria last week removed any moral obligation Russia had to withhold S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems from its ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday, according to RIA state news agency.

Despite the long delay, inspectors of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) could still be able to find chemical traces useful for the probe, experts have told AFP.

Also this month, the USA said it is concerned that Russian Federation may have tampered with evidence of the suspected chemical gas attack in Syria prior to investigators reaching the area.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the obstruction is likely aimed at ensuring that proof of the attack disappears.

Douma is under the protection of Russia's military police, and with 12 days having passed since the attack, concerns are growing that evidence could fall prey to tampering or be otherwise compromised.

Russian Federation was deeply critical of the US-led attacks.

"The security of the OPCW has been guaranteed not only by the Syrian side but also by the Russian command in Syria", the Russian ministry said.

"Everyone has disappointed us, everyone has sold us out", said Ahmed, a 25-year-old mechanic from Douma, who was evacuated to northern Syria with thousands of other civilians days before the attack.

Medical workers and activists in Douma at the time said at least 40 people were killed.

The Pentagon said on Thursday that while there were no signs the Syrian government was preparing to launch a chemical weapons attack, they still retained the ability to launch limited attacks in the future, Reuters reported."They do retain a residual capability".

Russian Federation said reports of chemical weapons attacks were untrue and "bogus", despite monitoring watch groups describing the horror on the ground - including children and adults foaming at the mouth.

McKenzie said if Syrian forces were considering possible future attacks, "they've got to look over their shoulder and be anxious that we're looking at them, and we'll have the ability to strike them again".

And she said whether it's now too late for the inspectors to go to Douma "would depend on the extent to which the Syrians and their Russian allies have been trying to clean up sites where. chemical weapons were suspected of being used".

Al Ikhbariya TV said buses carrying hundreds of opposition fighters and their families left the towns of Al Ruhayba, Jayrud and Al Nasiriya on Saturday, on their way to rebel-held territory near the Syrian-Turkish border. Iraq has carried out airstrikes in Syria against the group in the past. Rebels who once held the town abandoned it this month.

Barrel bombs and other munitions dropped by the Syrian government on Douma and the rest of Eastern Ghouta resulted in much higher death tolls but triggered no Western action against Assad.

The station says there could be 3,200 rebels leaving three towns on Saturday.