The Russian military has threatened to take action against the U.S. if it strikes Syria’s capital city of Damascus, CNBC reports.
The threat, by Chief of Russia’s General Staff Valery Gerasimov, was reported by Russia media sites such as state news agency RIA and Tass. It stated that Gerasimov said Russia had “reliable information” about militants preparing to falsify a government chemical attack against civilians.
He went on saying the U.S. would then use this attack to cast blame on Syrian government troops for using chemical weapons. He added that the U.S. would then plan to start a missile attack on government districts in Damascus.
“In several districts of Eastern Ghouta, a crowd was assembled with women, children and old people, brought from other regions, who were to represent the victims of the chemical incident,” Gerasimov said, according to RIA.
Gerasimov stated that Russia would act in response to a U.S. strike on Syria if the lives of Russian servicemen were threatened, targeting any rockets and launchers involved.
“In case there is a threat to the lives of our military, the Russian Armed Force will take retaliatory measures both over the missiles and carriers that will use them,” he noted.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Defense was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.
The remarks come as Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s regime, which is fully backed by Russia, continues to conduct airstrikes over the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta.
The United Nations Security Council had strongly urged for a ceasefire in Syria two weeks ago to allow nearly 1,000 sick and wounded civilians to leave in order to seek urgent medical treatment. On Monday, the U.S. threatened to “act if we must” if the UN ceasefire resolution continues to be ignored.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Hailey, said Monday that the U.S. was drafting a new ceasefire resolution with “no room for evasion” and warned the country was prepared to act.
“It is not the path we prefer, but it is a path we have demonstrated we will take, and we are prepared to take again,” Haley told the UN Security Council on Monday.
“When the international community consistently fails to act, there are times when states are compelled to take their own action,” she added.