Russia announced Friday that it will suspend a deal it made with the United States in 2015 to prevent a mid-air collision over Syria just hours after President Trump announced he authorized a missile attack on an airbase.
The United States launched dozens of cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield early Friday in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians, the first direct assault on the Damascus government since the beginning of that country’s bloody civil war in 2011.
At least 50 U.S. Tomahawk missiles targeted an airbase at Shayrat, located outside Homs. It is believed that the base was used as the staging point for Tuesday’s chemical weapons attack on rebel-held territory, which killed as many as 72 civilians, including women and children, Fox News reports.
Under the memorandum, signed after Russia launched an air campaign in Syria, Moscow and the U.S. had exchanged information about their flights to avoid incidents in the crowded skies over Syria, Fox News reports.
Russia said it will help Syria strengthen its air defenses after U.S. strike.
Ric Grennell, a former adviser to four U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations, told Fox News that Russia appears to be attempting to escalate the situation.
“They (the Kremlin) want to make it clear that they have interest inside Syria,” he said. “So it’s going to have to take diplomacy right now.”
Russia has several dozen warplanes and batteries of air-defense missiles at its base in Syria.
Grennell said that Turkey’s support can be pivotal in getting Moscow to relax its support for President Bashar al-Assad’s administration.