The Associated Press has confirmed the worst fears of many when it just reported that Russia indeed had prior of knowledge of the gassing of Khan Shaytun last week according to an unnamed senior US official.
Official: Russia knew in advance of Syrian chemical attack. https://t.co/R4TeO4Lq8p
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 10, 2017
A number of world leaders have been piling on the Kremlin as of late, including UK Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon who said “Assad’s principal backer is Russia. By proxy Russia is responsible for every civilian death last week.”
Here are some of the pertinent highlights from the Associated Press report-
“A Russian-operated drone flew over a hospital in Syria as victims of the attack were rushing to get treatment. Hours after the drone left, a Russian-made fighter jet bombed the hospital in what American officials believe was an attempt to cover up the usage of chemical weapons.
Until Monday, U.S. officials had said they weren’t sure if the drone was operated by Russia or Syria. The senior official said it still wasn’t clear who was flying the jet that bombed the hospital. The official said the presence of the drone couldn’t have been a coincidence, and that Russia must have known the chemical weapons attack was coming and that victims were seeking treatment.
Since the official quoted by the AP wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, the conversation was strictly off-the-record. This development reinforces the ultimatum that Russia, Iran, and Syria delivered to the United States and left no doubt that they were willing to go to war with the United States if their own red lines were crossed in Syria.