Following the alleged chemical attack in the city of Douma on Saturday 7th April, President Donald Trump has warned the Kremlin of an imminent missile attack on the Assad regime.
Things have quickly escalated, as the Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, has responded to Trump’s threat by declaring on Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV that “if there is a strike by the Americans … the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles will be fired”. This means that United States and allied warships and bases from where missile launches had taken place will be hit.
The White House reaction has promptly hit back as President Trump’s yesterday tweet reads as follows: “Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart’”. The tweet also addressed the Kremlin’s alliance with the Assad regime, defining it as a “gas killing animal who kills his people and enjoys it”.
Although nations no longer declare war on each other formally, Trump’s twitter could be been perceived as a declaration of war.
Russia has responded to Trump’s tweet by suggesting that United States plans to strike could be a pretext to destroy evidence of the alleged chemical weapons attack, which Russia has said was just a staged “provocation” to justify Western intervention once again. The Kremlin later added that it would not engage in the “Twitter diplomacy”.
As the communication between the United States and Russia risks being cut off soon, a new cold proxy war between the two countries could take place in Syria. In this regard, one of Trump ‘s yesterday tweets stated that the United States relationship with “Russia is worse now than it has ever been, and that includes the Cold War”.
Syria has described President Trump’s warnings as a “reckless escalation”: “We are not surprised by such a reckless escalation from a regime like the United States which has fostered and continues to foster terrorism in Syria,” an official source at the foreign ministry said.
President Trump’s tweets also put pressure on the United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May who has recently declared that she and President Trump would not “allow the use of chemical weapons to continue”. While the actors involved figure out what their next move will be, the World Health Organisation declares that 500 people were treated in last weekend’s suspected chemical attack in Douma.
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