Strike against Syria unlikely to provoke clash with Russia: top U.S. diplomat

WASHINGTON Wed Sep 4, 2013 4:19pm EDT

A Free Syrian Army fighter points his weapon as a comrade holds his ammunition in Ramouseh area in Aleppo September 4, 2013. REUTERS/Molhem Barakat

A Free Syrian Army fighter points his weapon as a comrade holds his ammunition in Ramouseh area in Aleppo September 4, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Molhem Barakat

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday a U.S. military strike on Syria over its chemical weapons use was unlikely to provoke a clash with Russia, a key Syrian ally that has blocked efforts to sanction Damascus at the U.N. Security Council.

"Foreign Minister (Sergey) Lavrov has made it clear ... Russia does not intend to fight a war over Syria," Kerry told a hearing in the House of Representatives.

He told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that Lavrov and Russian President Vladimir Putin had made it clear in conversations that "Syria does not rise to that level of ... conflict."

Russia is an important arms supplier to Assad's government and in June said it had stationed 16 warships and three ship-based helicopters in the Mediterranean, its first permanent naval deployment there since the Soviet era.

Moscow announced last week it was sending two warships to the eastern Mediterranean on a regular rotation. U.S. military officials downplayed the move, saying the Russians regularly rotate their warships just as the Americans do. Kerry also downplayed any threat from the Russian vessels.

"Their ships are kind of staying out of the way. They are not threatening that, and I don't think that would be what would happen here," Kerry said, in apparent reference to possible Russian retaliation to potential U.S. action in Syria.

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell and David Alexander; Editing by Stacey Joyce)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (2)
The reason the USA and other once-upon-a-time superpowers France and Britain and Sweden and Spain and Turkey, etc. hate chemical weapons is simple. Poor otherwise defenseless nations can easily manufacturer these lethal cocktails, stuff them into artillery shells or onto boats or even bi-planes and attack — and kill — targets that would otherwise destroy them, often for no other reason than they (USA, China, Russia, NATO participants) enjoy overwhelming poor countries.
Chemical weapons balance the military playing field. To some degree, and increasingly so in today’s rapidly technological world, biological weapons fall into the same easy to produce category and are perhaps even more easily delivered with equal devastating consequences.
Therefore, I think these weapons should be legalized so that everybody can have them and go MAD — or something like that. GMOs are also cool and nothing can stand against rapid man-caused Climate Change, the great balancer that the USA and their allies tend to say doesn’t really exist.

Sep 04, 2013 10:16pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Tiu wrote:
Al Cia-duh and Al Nsa-rah want conflict in the region. Kerry when he’s not on his phoney peace mission between Palestine and Israel is promoting conflict which could spread through the region and trigger wider conflict… which is what he wants.
Kerry is a compulsive liar and psychopath.

Sep 04, 2013 11:25pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.