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Defense Ministry: Militants launch massive attack on Syrian troops after US missile strike

"We hope that this offensive has not been coordinated in any way with the US side," Defense Ministry spokesman said

MOSCOW, April 7. /TASS/. Militants of major terrorist organizations launched a large-scale offensive on the Syrian government troops after the US forces delivered numerous missile strikes on a local air base on Thursday night, Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said on Friday.

"I would like to point out that following the massive (US) missile strikes on the air base, militants from the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations (both outlawed in Russia) launched a large-scale offensive operation," Konashenkov said. "We hope that this offensive has not been coordinated in any way with the US," the high-ranking Russian military official added.

According to Konashenkov, the US attack was planned beforehand while the chemical weapons incident in the Idlib Governorate on April 4 was only used as a pretext.

"Every expert would say that the decision to carry out a missile attack on Syria must have been made long before the Khan Shaykhun incident which only served as a pretext, while the demonstration of force was prompted by domestic reasons," the Russian Defense Ministry's spokesman added.

On Thursday night, at the direction of US President Donald Trump, the US forces fired 59 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM) on a Syrian military air base located in the Homs Governorate. The attack came as a response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Idlib Governorate on April 4. The US authorities believe that the airstrike on Idlib was launched from that air base.

The US attack killed ten people. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, a number of facilities and six aircraft were destroyed, however, the runway and aircraft outside hangars remained intact. The Russian ministry said the US attack’s efficiency was low.