MOSCOW, April 14. /TASS/. Russia has noted that media and social network reports have become the basis for Saturday’s strike against Syria rather than US, British and French intelligence data, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the Rossiya 1 TV channel’s "Sixty Minutes" program on Saturday.
"American [TV] channels immediately began to refute information regarding the number of downed missiles, asserting that this information had been provided by Syrian state-run television, which cannot be considered trustworthy. The reason for the strike, according to statements made by US officials and a newly-published allegedly classified report by French intelligence, were actually media and social network reports," Zakharova said, adding that "while media outlets can bear at least some responsibility for their publications, material posted on social networks cannot be trusted."
"This time they pinned all the responsibility on the media. Why are media reports, instead of intelligence data, cited as the reason for the attack?" the diplomat went on to say. "Everyone remembers perfectly well the beginning of the bombing of Iraq, when they used the US secretary of state as a fall guy giving him a test tube. Today there are no such fools who could come to the UN Security Council and show some test tubes, so their own American, British, French and, essentially, European media outlets were labeled as such ‘fools."
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the missile strike against Syria’s military and civilian infrastructures was carried out by US warplanes and naval ships in cooperation with the British and French air forces between 03:42 and 05:10 Moscow time on Saturday.
The ministry reported that a total of 100 cruise and air-to-surface missiles had been fired (while 59 missiles were fired at the Shayrat Airbase last year), most of them were shot down by Syria’s air defense units upon approaching their targets.
The United States, the UK and France said the strikes were a response to an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria’s Douma.
A number of non-governmental organizations, including the White Helmets, earlier alleged chemical weapons had been used in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, on April 7. The Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed these reports as fake news. Moreover, the Russian Defense Ministry pointed out that the White Helmets are notorious for spreading falsified information.
On April 9, officers from the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria visited Douma but found no trace of chemical weapons there.
Experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were to begin work there on Saturday.