Syria news latest: Putin condemns 'destructive' UK, US and French strikes as he calls emergency meeting of UN

Russia president Vladimir Putin has condemned “destructive” US, UK and French strikes in Syria.

The action in retaliation to a suspected chemical attack in Douma saw more than 100 cruise missiles blasted at three key areas linked to the production of weapons around 2am BST today.

Russia, Syria’s main backer, claimed the Kremlin had not received any warning prior to the strikes.

Theresa May told a press conference at Downing Street the action should be seen as a “warning to Russia”.

Syrian media shows a missile over Damascus (AP)

In a statement issued by the Kremlin, the Russian leader said Moscow is calling an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

Mr Putin added that the strike had a “destructive influence on the entire system of international relations”.

He claimed the strikes were in “violation of the UN charter”.

Missiles streak across the Damascus skyline (AP)

The Russian leader said: “An act of aggression against a sovereign state that is on the frontline in the fight against terrorism was committed without a mandate from the UN Security Council and in violation of the UN Charter and norms and principles of international law.”

He reaffirmed Russia’s view that the purported chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma that prompted the strike was a fake and added: “Just as one year ago, when the Shayrat Airbase in Syria came under attack, the US used as a pretext a staged chemical attack against civilians, this time in Douma, a Damascus suburb. 

“Having visited the site of the would-be chemical attack, Russian military experts did not find any traces of chlorine or any other toxic agent. Not a single local resident was able to confirm that a chemical attack had actually taken place.”

Syrian news release footage said to show anti-air missiles over Damascus

Meanwhile, the Russian military said Syria’s Soviet-made air defence systems have downed 71 out of 103 cruise missiles launched by the US and its allies.

Col Gen Sergei Rudskoi of the Russian military’s General Staff said Saturday’s strike has not caused any casualties, and Syrian military facilities targeted by the US, UK and France have suffered only minor damage.

He said the Russian air defence assets in Syria monitored the strike but did not engage any of the missiles.

Col Gen Rudskoi said the Syrian military used Soviet-era air defence missile systems with high efficiency, shooting down all of the missiles aimed at four key Syrian air bases. 

He noted that Russia has in the past refrained from providing Syria with its state-of-the-art S-300 air defence missile systems at the insistence of the West, but could reconsider this decision now.

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