Bashar al Assad visits Russia air base

Bashar al-Assad has visited a Russian air base in the western region of nations, just hours after the US put his regime “on notice” over a potential chemical weapons plot.

Footage circulated on the Syrian presidency’s Facebook page shows Assad in the cockpit of a Russian Sukhoi SU-35 warplane.

He also inspected weapons, personnel and armoured vehicles at the base near Latakia, in western Syria.

Assad reportedly wrote in the visitor’s book: ”The Syrian people will not forget that its Russian brothers stood next to them in this national war.”

The Syrian president toured the base, which has been at the heart of Moscow’s military effort in support of Assad since 2015, accompanied by Russian chief of staff General Valery Gerasimov.

Vladimir Putin has continued to back his ally Assad despite repeated criticisms from the West.

The visit comes after the US ambassador to the United Nations declared that any chemical weapons attack by Assad’s government on his own citizens will also be blamed on the Russia and Iran.

Nikki Haley said on Twitter: “Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia and Iran who support him killing his own people.”

Later at a hearing before the US House of Representatives, she added: “I believe that the goal is at this point not just to send Assad a message but to send Russia and Iran a message that if this happens again we are putting you on notice.”

The White House revealed yesterday that it had identified potential preparations by Assad’s government for another chemical weapons attack on Syria.

Donald Trump’s administration warned if Assad conducts another attack using chemical weapons on his people, “he and his military will pay a heavy price”.

The US military believes the preparations are similar to those made before the April 4 chemical weapons attack in Syria – a claim Assad’s government has repeatedly denied.

The attack – which killed at least 87 people, including 30 children – escalated tensions between Washington and Russia, which has advisers in Syria aiding its close ally Assad.

A White House statement said: “The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including children.

“As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS].

“If, however, Mr Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.”


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