MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia was "in an inch from the confrontation" with the United States following the US missile strike on the Syrian Ash Sha’irat airfield, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Monday.
"And if it turns out that the terrorists spread the [poison] gas, what the United States will do? If terrorists find out that the United States will support them every time they spread the gas, what will be with the region? Russian officials said they were an inch from the confrontation [with the United States]," Rouhani said, citing Russian officials, as quoted by the ISNA news agency.
He also said the missile strike damages the negotiating process and underscored the political track as the only solution to the six-year Syrian crisis.
"As for Syria, the final solution must be political," Rouhani said. "What the US has done has harmed the negotiation process."
The Syrian foreign minister denied the government’s involvement in the Idlib incident, saying it had never nor would it ever use chemical weapons on either civilians or terrorists operating in the country.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on April 5 that the airstrike near Khan Shaykhun by the Syrian air force hit a terrorist warehouse that stored chemical weapons slated for delivery to Iraq, and called on the UN Security Council to launch a proper investigation into the incident.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on April 6 that groundless accusations in the chemical weapons incident in Syria's Idlib were unacceptable before the investigation into the matter had been carried out while Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday criticized the US missile attack as a violation of the international law.
After the missile attack, the Russian Defense Ministry suspended a point-to-point communications link with the US military under the memorandum of understanding on de-confliction in Syria.
The civil war in Syria has been lasting for around six years with government troops fighting against numerous opposition factions and terror organizations such as al-Nusra Front and Daesh, outlawed in Russia.