Medvedev: US Strike on Syria Encourages Daesh Terrorists to Continue Terror Attacks

MOSCOW- Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has denounced Washington’s missile attack on a Syrian military airbase earlier this month, saying the strike gave the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group free rein to continue its terror campaign.

Medvedev made the remarks in an address to the State Duma, the lower house of the parliament, in Moscow on Wednesday, according to Press TV.

He stressed that the April 7 US missile strike against Shayrat Airfield in Syria’s Homs province was "an act of military aggression" as it was not authorized by the United Nations and violated international law.

 "We do not know what may happen next. But I know for sure who benefited from this act of aggression — Daesh, because [the attack] gave them [terrorists] a free rein," he said.

The Russian premier further accused the US administration of fighting the Damascus government instead of terrorism.

 “Whether Americans like it or not, ... that (the Syrian leadership) is a legal political power," he added, warning of further escalation of the conflict in Syria.

'Well-planned provocation'

Elsewhere in his comments, Medvedev said that what happened in Khan Shaykhun was a "well-planned provocation from which, probably, the US administration benefited."

He also called for a thorough investigation into the incident and warned against pointing the finger of blame at the Syrian government.

Syria gave up its entire arsenal of chemical arms under a deal reached between the US and Russia in 2013.

Idlib Chemical Incident 'Provocation Aimed at Undermining Ceasefire': Lavrov

In the same context, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday in phone talks with his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault that Moscow considers the alleged chemical weapons incident in the Syrian province of Idlib a provocation and an attempt to undermine the ceasefire in the country.

"During the discussion of the situation in Syria Lavrov stressed again that the Russian side considers the April 4 incident with the use of chemical weapons in Khan Shaykhun a deliberate provocation, aimed at undermining the ceasefire and political settlement in Syria," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Lavrov reiterated call for the "truly independent objective investigation" of the attack, the ministry added.

The alleged chemical incident was used as pretext for a US missile strike against the Ash Sha'irat airbase carried out late on April 6. US President Donald Trump claimed the strike was a response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian army. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said missile attack was a violation of the international law. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described the US missile strike against the Syrian airfield as a strategic mistake.