The Russian military on Thursday strongly warned the United States against striking the Syrian army, noting that its air defense weapons in Syria stand ready to fend off any attack. The statement underlined high tensions between Moscow and Washington after the collapse of a US-Russia-brokered Syria truce and the Syrian army's offensive on Aleppo backed by Russian warplanes, the AP reports. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said any US strikes on areas controlled by Syrian President Bashar Assad's government could jeopardize the lives of Russian servicemen.
After a US strike killed at least 60 Syrian soldiers last month, Russia rejected the US explanation that the attack was a mistake. "We have taken all the necessary measures to prevent any such 'mistakes' with regard to Russian servicemen and military facilities in Syria," Konashenkov said, adding that Russian defense systems in the country would "surprise" any country that tried to test them. In Washington, State Department spokesman John Kirby said that the US is still looking at its full range of options—and he doesn't consider Russia's comments "helpful to moving forward, to reach some sort of diplomatic solution here." (Read more Syrian civil war stories.)