Russia will launch an airstrike on a US military outpost in Syria, the Kremlin said Friday, in what would be the first direct Russian military response to US attacks on Syria.
The Kremlin said in a statement that it would launch a “special attack” on the base, which is near the Syrian city of Tartus, near the Lebanese border, to “ensure its security” and “to ensure the protection of the residents of Tartous.”
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the attack would target the military barracks and barracks complex in Tartus.
The statement said the strikes would be carried out from Russian territory.
The base is near Tartus’ southern border with Turkey.
Earlier Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia would “not hesitate” to take action if the United States launched a pre-emptive strike against the Russian military.
The remarks came after the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution that would require Russia to hand over Syrian military commanders and provide the Security Council with their personal information.
It was the second time Russia has vetoed a Security Council resolution over the use of force against Syria.
Putin vetoed a similar resolution in December.
Russia has not said whether it will launch such an attack on the US military.
Russia’s ambassador to the United Nation, Vitaly Churkin, has said that if the U.S. strikes, it will be “a serious act of aggression” against Russia.
Earlier this week, Putin said he would send troops into Syria to defend his country.
He said he wanted to send more than 2,000 troops into the country and to protect Russian-speaking communities.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Thursday that Russia would be willing to take part in military operations if they were necessary.
Russia has a combat-ready force of about 2,500 troops in Syria.