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Donald Trump warns Russia of missile strikes in Syria

Comments raise fears of direct conflict between super powers

Susan Heavey Makini Brice & Tom Perry | Reuters  |  Washington/Beirut 

Donald Trump - Vladimir Putin

US President warned on Wednesday of imminent military action in Syria over a suspected poison gas attack, declaring that missiles "will be coming" and lambasting Moscow for standing by Syrian President

Trump was reacting to a warning from on Tuesday that any US missiles fired at Syria over the deadly assault on a rebel enclave would be shot down and the launch sites targeted.

His comments raised fears of direct conflict over Syria for the first time between the two world powers backing opposing sides in the country’s protracted civil war, which has aggravated instability across the

"vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!'," Trump wrote in a post on

"You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!" Trump tweeted, referring to Moscow's alliance with Assad.

In response, Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a post that "smart missiles should fly towards terrorists, not towards the lawful government".

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said any US missile salvo could be an attempt to destroy evidence of the reported gas attack in the Syrian town of Douma, for which Damascus and Moscow have denied any responsibility.\

Donald Trump warns Russia of missile strikes in Syria

Dozens of Douma inhabitants died and hundreds were injured in the attack, according to the World Health Organization . The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights — a British-based war monitor with a network of sources on the ground — reported pro-government forces were emptying main airports and military air bases.

The Russian military said later it had observed movements of US naval forces in the Gulf. Any US strike would probably involve the navy in waters within range of Syria, given the risk to aircraft from Russian and Syrian air defence systems. A US Navy guided-missile destroyer, the USS Donald Cook, is in the Mediterranean.

The Syrian foreign ministry accused the US, which has supported some rebel groups in Syria's conflict, of using "fabrications and lies" as an excuse to hit its territory.

First Published: Thu, April 12 2018. 02:55 IST