Russian PM: Moscow, US on 'the verge of a military clash'

Graphic locates the site of recent Syria chemical attack the U.S. airstrike in response and other Syrian military bases and facilities across the country 2c x 3 1/4 inches 96.3 mm x 82

The US fired dozens of cruise missiles at the Shayrat air base near the western city of Homs from which it said a deadly chemical weapons attack was launched this week. The United States blasted a Syrian air base with a barrage of cruise missiles in fiery retaliation for this week's gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians.

On the U.S. side, it is run out of the Combined Air and Space Operations Center at the vast al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar, which hosts the forward headquarters of U.S. Central Command.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Friday condemned the US missile strike in Syria, saying it puts Moscow and Washington "on the verge of a military clash".

To protect pilots, Moscow and Washington opened a so-called "deconfliction line" after Russian Federation began its bombing campaign in September 2015.

The so-called deconfliction line has been a lifesaving - albeit imperfect - tool since it was set up soon after Russian Federation entered Syria´s civil war in late 2015 to prop up President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia's decision to suspend the hotline established after the launch of the Russian air campaign in Syria in September 2015 effectively means that Russian and USA planes could fly dangerously close to each other during combat missions, raising the risk of inadvertent or deliberate clashes in the crowded skies over Syria.

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Mr Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin, a staunch ally of the Syrian leader, regarded the USA action as "aggression against a sovereign nation" on a "made-up pretext" and a cynical attempt to distract the world from civilian deaths in Iraq.

The Syrian army said the USA attack killed six people and called it "blatant aggression" which made the United States a partner of "terrorist groups" including Islamic State. Washington says Syrian government forces carried out a poison gas attack in northern Syria this week that killed at least 70 people.

Until the attack on the Syrian air base, the USA had avoided striking Assad's forces for fear of provoking a clash with the Russian military.

The U.S. officials also said they're aware of Russians with chemical weapons expertise who have been in Syria. "This step by Washington will inflict major damage on U.S. -Russia ties". The U.S. used that line to warn Russian Federation of the airstrike. The U.S. missile strike could make it all but impossible to improve relations. It could even put the two nuclear superpowers on a course toward military confrontation.

The attack - the first USA strike against the Syrian regime - was in response to a chemical weapons attack that reportedly killed more than 70 civilians, including 20 children in Idlib province on Tuesday. Russian Federation still has several dozen warplanes and batteries of air defense missiles at its base near Latakia, Syria.

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