"We warned that such actions would not be left without consequences".
In an interview published Sunday in the Journal du Dimanche newspaper, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian reached out to Russian Federation, saying "we should join our efforts to promote a political process in Syria that would allow a way out of the crisis". "It would provoke a retaliation operation by government forces and the White Helmets were to use it to stage a provocation with an alleged use of chemical weapons", he said. Vladimir Shamanov, who chairs the defence committee of Russia's lower house, said the vessels had departed the base for their own safety, which was "normal practice" when there were threats of attack. "We can not take such risks", he said at a forum.
Sheikh Naim Qassem, deputy leader of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah movement, told Lebanese daily al-Joumhouria: "The conditions do not point to a total war happening. unless Trump and (Israeli leader Benjamin) Netanyahu completely lose their minds".
"None of the cruise missiles launched by the United States and its allies entered the zones of Russian air defenses around Tartus and Hmeymin", the ministry said in a statement.
A first team of experts from the global Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has arrived in Syria, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.
"Our military specialists have visited this place. and they did not find any trace of chlorine or any other chemical substance used against civilians", Lavrov said. "Could be very soon or not so soon at all!" he had tweeted.
The government's capture of Douma, the last town held by the rebels in eastern Ghouta, marks a major victory for Assad. Rebels and jihadist insurgents are largely contained to two areas along Syria's northern and southern borders.