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Lavrov compares US strike in Syria to 2003 Iraq invasion

The Russian top diplomat says Moscow will demand truth of Idlib events

TASHKENT, April 7. /TASS/. TASHKENT, April 7. /TASS/. The US missile attack on a Syrian airbase is an act of aggression under a far-fetched pretext and is reminiscent of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday.

"It is an act of aggression under a completely far-fetched pretext," the top diplomat stated. "This is reminiscent of the situation in 2003, when the US and the UK, along with some of their allies, invaded Iraq without the consent of the UN Security Council and in violation of international law."

"When speaking about the military intervention in Iraq many years after it happened, Tony Blair (who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007) acknowledged that they had misled everybody," Lavrov emphasized.

"Now they did not even bother to provide any facts referring only to photos," he noted. "They indulged in speculations on children’s photos, on evidence provided by various non-governmental organizations, including the so-called White Helmets, which staged various 'incidents' to instigate action against the Syrian government."

Moscow will demand truth of Idlib events, Lavrov stressed. "It is regrettable that all these causes do more harm to the already damaged relations between Russia and the United States. Hope remains that these provocations will not entail irreversible effects," Lavrov said.

Some mass media, he went on to say, have been quoting pessimistic statements by former Obama administration functionaries to the effect that after the strikes Russian-US cooperation looks utterly unrealistic.

"I don’t know when we will be able to find out how the US made the decision to attack Syria. But we must demand that the truth be unveiled and we will do it," the Russian foreign minister said.

"It looks like they wanted to distract attention from the notorious Jabhat al-Nusra, which is still viewed by some countries as an optional force to be used for disrupting the negotiation process and to topple the current regime," Lavrov stressed.

"It can only benefit those, who seek to undermine the Geneva process as well as the Astana talks and those who seek all possible preconditions for switching from the political settlement to a change of regime by force," the top Russian diplomat added.

The US military last night launched a total of 59 cruise missiles Tomahawk at a Syrian air base in Homs province. The strike was presented as an act of retaliation for the suspected use of chemical weapons in the Idlib province on April 4. The Syrian army said the attack killed six. The Sky News Arabia television channel reported the death of ten people, including civilians.