Syrian President Bashar al-Assad responded to the limited airstrikes from a coalition led by U.S. forces in a meeting with Russian officials Saturday.
‘Absolutely positive spirits’
Russian officials said that Assad was in high spirits during the meeting. Russia Today, the Kremlin-owned state news agency, posted a video of the Syrian president smiling at the meeting.
“President Assad was in absolutely positive spirits. He is in a good mood,” said Russian Gov. Natalya Komarova, according to the Interfax news agency.
U.S. lags behind Russia
“Yesterday, we saw the American aggression, and we were able to counter it with Soviet missiles manufactured in the 1970s,” said Assad, according to Dmitry Sablin, another Russian lawmaker.
“The American movies have shown since the 1990s that Russian-made weapons are ‘backward.’ However, today we can see who is really lagging behind,” Sablin said Assad told the Russians at their meeting.
The Kremlin has claimed that Russian defense systems were able to shoot down 71 of 103 missiles delivered by the U.S. coalition, but the Pentagon has denied the report. Russia has also denied the veracity of various reports indicating that it was the Syrian government, led by Assad, that used chemical weapons.
Some, like Tucker Carlson on Fox News, have also been skeptical of the reports, and argued that is not in the interest of the U.S. to attack Assad and risk sparking a war against Russia, his ally.
Russia offered a warning to Britain, France and the United States after the attacks, saying, “Insulting the President of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissible.”
Syrian government forces retook the region of Damascus that it was accused of striking with chemical weaponry, adding more ammunition to those advocating for more interventionist response from President Donald Trump.