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Syria condemns US military strike as 'government terrorism,' Russia adds it's 'unacceptable'


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- Christina Gregg | AOL.com
GENEVA/MOSCOW, May 19 (Reuters) - A U.S. military strike in Syria on Thursday was "government terrorism" and caused a massacre, Syrian government negotiator Bashar al-Ja'afari said on Friday, while Russia called it an unacceptable breach of Syrian sovereignty.

U.S. officials told Reuters that the U.S. military carried out the air strike on Thursday against militia supported by the Syrian government that posed a threat to U.S. forces and U.S.-backed Syrian fighters in the country's south.

Ja'afari said he had raised the incident with U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura at peace talks in Geneva.

"We discussed the massacre that the U.S. aggressor committed yesterday in our country. This subject was widely discussed," Ja'afari told reporters.

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"The important thing is that our political ambition is higher because we want to focus on fighting terrorism represented by armed groups and the state and government terrorism happening against our country.

"This includes the American aggression, French aggression and British aggression, whether on civilian or military targets."

The U.S. strike was the second deliberate military attack on forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In April U.S. President Donald Trump ordered cruise missile strikes in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack that Washington blamed on Damascus.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said the U.S. action would hamper efforts to find a political solution to the conflict.

"It is utterly unacceptable and a violation of Syria's sovereignty," Russian news agencies quoted him as saying.

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"Any military action leading to an escalation of the situation in Syria has an impact on the political process."

A military source on the Syrian government side said the air strike had hit "one of our military points," without elaborating, Syrian state TV reported.

The strike killed several people and caused material damage, the source said, saying that this hampered efforts by the Syrian army and its allies to fight Islamic State.

Gatilov complained about what he said was a separate strike that had occurred on Wednesday May 17.

"Literally a day before this (Thursday's strike) a strike was carried out which resulted in a large number of civilian deaths, which is also unacceptable," Gatilov was cited as saying.

The United States has not spoken about any strikes carried out by the U.S.-led coalition on that date. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Catherine Evans and Richard Lough)

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    ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATH A man carries the body of a dead child, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah
  • MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-IDLIB
    ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATH People stand near a dead body, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah
  • MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-IDLIB
    A man breathes through an oxygen mask as another one receives treatments, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah
  • MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-IDLIB
    A man breathes through an oxygen mask, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah
  • MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-IDLIB
    ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATH Men stand near dead bodies, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah
  • SYRIA-CONFLICT-GAS
    EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A Syrian child receives treatment at a hospital in Khan Sheikhun, a rebel-held town in the northwestern Syrian Idlib province, following an attack on April 4, 2017. A suspected chemical attack killed at least 58 civilians including several children in rebel-held northwestern Syria, a monitor said, with the opposition accusing the government and demanding a UN investigation. / AFP PHOTO / Omar haj kadour (Photo credit should read OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP/Getty Images)
  • TURKEY-SYRIA-CONFLICT-GAS
    A man holds an injured baby inside a Turkish ambulance as injured Syrian people enter into Turkey from the Cilvegozu border gate in Hatay province, near the Syrian border on April 4, 2017. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on April 4, 2017 condemned a suspected chemical attack in northwestern Syria as an 'inhuman' strike that could endanger peace talks based in the Kazakh capital. / AFP PHOTO / DOGAN NEWS AGENCY / - / Turkey OUT (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Civilians killed in Assad Regime attacks in Syria
    IDLIB, SYRIA - APRIL 4: A wounded kid receives medical treatment at sahra hospital after Assad Regime forces's attack with chlorine gas to Khan Shaykhun town of Idlib, Syria on April 4, 2017. (Photo by Abdulghani Arian/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • Civilians killed in Assad Regime attacks in Syria
    IDLIB, SYRIA - APRIL 4: A woman gets treatment at a hospital after Assad Regime forces attacked with suspected chlorine gas to Khan Shaykhun town of Idlib, Syria on April 4, 2017. (Photo by Bahjat Najar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • Civilians killed in Assad Regime attacks in Syria
    IDLIB, SYRIA - APRIL 4: A child gets treatment at a hospital after Assad Regime forces attacked with suspected chlorine gas to Khan Shaykhun town of Idlib, Syria on April 4, 2017. (Photo by Bahjat Najar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-IDLIB
    ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATH A man carries the body of a dead child, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
  • MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-IDLIB
    A crater is seen at the site of an airstrike, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
  • TURKEY-SYRIA-CONFLICT-GAS
    Turkish officials with chemical clothes carry a injured man on April 4, 2017 in Hatay province, near the Syrian border. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on April 4, 2017 condemned a suspected chemical attack in northwestern Syria as an 'inhuman' strike that could endanger peace talks based in the Kazakh capital. / AFP PHOTO / DOGAN NEWS AGENCY / - / Turkey OUT (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
  • SYRIA-CONFLICT-GAS
    EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Bodies lie in the parking area of a hospital in Khan Sheikhun, a rebel-held town in the northwestern Syrian Idlib province, following a suspected toxic gas attack on April 4, 2017. A suspected chemical attack killed at least 58 civilians including several children in rebel-held northwestern Syria, a monitor said, with the opposition accusing the government and demanding a UN investigation. / AFP PHOTO / Omar haj kadour (Photo credit should read OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Civilians killed in Assad Regime attacks in Syria
    IDLIB, SYRIA - APRIL 4: A child gets treatment at a hospital after Assad Regime forces attacked with suspected chlorine gas to Khan Shaykhun town of Idlib, Syria on April 4, 2017. (Photo by Bahjat Najar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

US airstrikes in Syria -- launches and impact

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    U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) fires a tomahawk land attack missile in Mediterranean Sea on April 7, 2017.

    (Robert S. Price/Courtesy U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS)

  • MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA

    Battle damage assessment image of Shayrat Airfield, Syria, is seen in this DigitalGlobe satellite image, released by the Pentagon following U.S. Tomahawk Land Attack Missile strikes from Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, the USS Ross and USS Porter on April 7, 2017.

    (DigitalGlobe/Courtesy U.S. Department of Defense/Handout via REUTERS)

  • MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA

    U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) fires a tomahawk land attack missile in Mediterranean Sea on April 7, 2017.

    (Robert S. Price/Courtesy U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS)

  • MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA
    Shayrat Airfield in Homs, Syria is seen in this DigitalGlobe satellite image released by the U.S. Defense Department on April 6, 2017 after announcing U.S. forces conducted a cruise missile strike against the Syrian Air Force airfield. DigitalGlobe/Courtesy U.S. Department of Defense/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE. MANDATORY CREDIT.
  • MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA

    U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) fires a tomahawk land attack missile in Mediterranean Sea on April 7, 2017.

    (Robert S. Price/Courtesy U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS)

  • MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA

    U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) fires a tomahawk land attack missile in Mediterranean Sea on April 7, 2017.

    (Robert S. Price/Courtesy U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS)

  • MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA

    Shayrat Airfield in Homs, Syria is seen in this DigitalGlobe satellite image on February 18, 2017 and released by the U.S. Defense Department on April 6, 2017 after announcing U.S. forces conducted a cruise missile strike against the Syrian Air Force airfield. 

    (DigitalGlobe/Courtesy U.S. Department of Defense/Handout via REUTERS)

  • MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA

    U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) conducts strike operations while in the Mediterranean Sea which U.S. Defense Department said was a part of cruise missile strike against Syria on April 7, 2017.

    (Ford Williams/Courtesy U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS)

  • MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA

    U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) conducts strike operations while in the Mediterranean Sea, April 7, 2017. Porter, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe.

    (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams/Released)

  • MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA

    Battle damage assessment image of Shayrat Airfield, Syria, is seen in this DigitalGlobe satellite image, released by the Pentagon following U.S. Tomahawk Land Attack Missile strikes from Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, the USS Ross and USS Porter on April 7, 2017. 

    (DigitalGlobe/Courtesy U.S. Department of Defense/Handout via REUTERS)

  • MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA

    U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) conducts strike operations while in the Mediterranean Sea which U.S. Defense Department said was a part of cruise missile strike against Syria on April 7, 2017.

    (Ford Williams/Courtesy U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTER)

  • MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA

    U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) conducts strike operations while in the Mediterranean Sea which U.S. Defense Department said was a part of cruise missile strike against Syria on April 7, 2017.

    (Ford Williams/Courtesy U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS)

  • MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA

    Battle damage assessment image of Shayrat Airfield, Syria, is seen in this DigitalGlobe satellite image, released by the Pentagon following U.S. Tomahawk Land Attack Missile strikes from Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, the USS Ross and USS Porter on April 7, 2017. 

    (DigitalGlobe/Courtesy U.S. Department of Defense/Handout via REUTERS)

  • MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA

    U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) conducts strike operations while in the Mediterranean Sea which U.S. Defense Department said was a part of cruise missile strike against Syria on April 7, 2017.

    (Ford Williams/Courtesy U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS)

  • SYRIA-US-CONFLICT
    Syrian shepherds tend their flock near the damaged Shayrat ('ash-Shairat') airfield at the Syrian government forces military base targeted earlier overnight by US Tomahawk cruise missiles, southeast of the central and third largest Syrian city of Homs, on April 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / STRINGER (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
  • SYRIA-US-CONFLICT
    A picture taken on April 7, 2017 shows a view of the damaged Shayrat ('ash-Shairat') airfield at the Syrian government forces military base targeted earlier overnight by US Tomahawk cruise missiles, southeast of the central and third largest Syrian city of Homs. / AFP PHOTO / STRINGER (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

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