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    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin adjusts his sunglasses as he watches an air show during MAKS-2011, the International Aviation and Space Show, in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow, on August 17, 2011

    Russian Defense Ministry Decides on Expansion in Syria Follows Putin's Orders

    © AFP 2017/ DMITRY KOSTYUKOV
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    US Missile Attack on Syrian Air Base (200)
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    The decision to expand Russia's military presence in Syria is made by the Defense Ministry in accordance with President Vladimir Putin's instructions, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Thursday night, the United States launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian military airfield in Ash Sha'irat, located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the city of Homs. US President Donald Trump said the attack was a response to the alleged chemical weapon use in Syria's Idlib on Tuesday, which Washington blames on the Syrian government.

    "As for the presence of the Russian military in Syria, the regime and the number of our military personnel are determined by the Defense Ministry in accordance with the instructions of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief," Peskov told reporters.

    Russia described the attack as an aggression against a sovereign state.

    Following the US military action, Russia decided to suspend its memorandum of understanding on air safety over Syria with the United States, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

    The Russian Defense Ministry also announced on Friday its plans to bolster and increase the effectiveness of the air defense system in Syria after the United States carried out attacks against a Syrian armed forces airfield.

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    US Missile Attack on Syrian Air Base (200)
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    chemical attack, chemical weapons, Vladimir Putin, Syria, United States, Russia
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