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Expert highlights threat of new strikes against Syria

Each time they may be more powerful, Maxim Suchkov said

MOSCOW, April 16. /TASS/. The threat of repeat air strikes against Syria still exists and each time they may be more powerful, expert of the Valdai international discussion club Maxim Suchkov told TASS on Monday.

According to the expert, the aggression by Washington, London and Paris against Syria on Saturday was not aimed at changing the alignment of forces and from this viewpoint nothing changed.

"All these days, Russia and the United States tried to maximally de-escalate this crisis through various channels. As a result, the airstrikes, the facilities they hit and how they were countered by the Syrian air defenses with the participation of Russian military specialists became maximally acceptable from among the possible options of exiting this uneasy situation, allowing both sides to save their face," the expert pointed out.

"However, the crisis has failed to resolve many important issues," he said.

"With regard to Syria, the threat of similar strikes in the future still exists. Moreover, the scope of such strikes, if they are repeated, will be larger each time and it will be more difficult to de-escalate them," the expert said.

The expert also drew attention to the persisting risks of a military standoff between Russia and the United States. "Russia will most likely actively support the issue of the inadmissibility of airstrikes from the standpoint of international law, first of all, using the UN Security Council, and will assist the work of special commissions of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, although special hopes should hardly be pinned on the results of these probes, as the experience shows," the expert said.

Some qualitative strengthening of the Syrian armed forces is possible. Russia won’t deliberately seek big military confrontation and most likely the United States won’t do this either, the expert noted.

In the coming days, both sides will insist on their own role in the efforts to de-escalate the situation, Suchkov said.

"However, it is important that the attempts to show oneself off in a more advantageous position than its opponent should not prompt the US and its allies to further pursue the adventurous path," the expert said.

On April 14, the US, Great Britain and France delivered a massive missile strike against Syria without the UN Security Council’s authorization. According to the data of the Russian Foreign Ministry, the missiles hit a research center in Damascus, the headquarters of the republican guard, an air defense base, several military aerodromes and army depots.

As Russia’s Defense Ministry reported, the attack lasted from 03:42 to 05:10 local time. The Syrian air defenses shot down 71 out of 103 fired missiles. Three civilians were injured in the attack. Washington, London and Paris claimed the attack was a response to an alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria’s Douma.