- The Washington Times - Friday, February 26, 2021

Russia, a key military ally of the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, on Friday sharply condemned the U.S. airstrike targeting an Iran-allied Iraqi militia group operating in Syria.

President Biden authorized the attack Thursday evening in response to a bombing attack last week on a base in northern Iraq that killed a Filipino contractor working with American forces and wounded six others, including a U.S. National Guardsman. An official with Kataib Hezbollah, the Iraqi-based militia, said one of its fighters had been killed at the Syrian border town of Abu Kamal, but independent reports say the death toll could be as high as 17 fighters.

Russia has been fighting alongside Syrian government forces in the country’s nine-year civil war, clashing repeatedly with U.S. forces and U.S.-allied Kurds who have been battling the terror group Islamic State on the same battlefield.

“We strongly condemn such actions and call for Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity to be unconditionally respected,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a Friday briefing in Moscow. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the U.S. informed Russia of the strike just minutes before it was carried out.

“This sort of warning — when strikes are already underway — [is worth] nothing,” Mr. Lavrov said in a social media post.

• David R. Sands can be reached at dsands@washingtontimes.com.

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