US-led strikes on Syria 'an act of aggression': Vladimir Putin
MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin has denounced a strike on Syria launched by the United States and its allies as an "act of aggression" that will exacerbate humanitarian catastrophe in Syria.
In a statement issued by the Kremlin, the Russian leader says Moscow is calling an emergency meeting of the United Nations' Security Council over the strike launched by the US, Britain and France.
Putin added that the strike had a "destructive influence on the entire system of international relations."
He reaffirmed Russia's view that a purported chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma that prompted the strike was a fake. Putin added that Russian military experts who inspected Douma found no trace of the attack. He criticized the US and its allies for launching the strike without waiting for inspectors from the international chemical weapons watchdog to visit the area.
Thunder-like explosions rock Syrian capital
Loud explosions ripped through Syria's capital early Saturday and the sky turned orange as Syrian air defense units fired surface-to-air missiles in response to joint airstrikes by the United States, France and Britain.
Associated Press reporters saw smoke rising from east Damascus and a huge fire to the east. From a distance, US missiles hitting suburbs of the capital sounded like thunder. Shortly after the one-hour attack ended, vehicles with loudspeakers roamed the streets of Damascus blaring nationalist songs.
"Good souls will not be humiliated," Syria's presidency tweeted after the airstrikes began.
Immediately after the attack, Syrian state TV, broadcasting live from the landmark Omayyad Square, showed crowds of civilians mixing with men in uniform, including vehicles with flags.