Russia and Iran have issued a warning to the US as G7 foreign ministers prepared to meet in Italy to discuss Syria. Russian president Vladimir Putin and Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani said the US has been warned it crossed a “red line” with its missile strikes on Syria. The cruise missile strike came after a nerve gas attack on civilians that killed more than 80 people, including children, in the rebel-held Syrian province of Idlib at the start of last week. An arm of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, meanwhile, issued a statement it said was on behalf of Russia, Iran and its allies, vowing to “reply with force” to any future aggression “in a variety of ways”.
The important thing is that this is Britain helping to influence US policy on Syria and Russia, far from being a poodle. Three months ago Syria wasn’t really an issue for them but our push and recent events have made a difference.
UK government source
The US and UK are expected to tell Russia it must stop supporting the regime of Syrian president Bashar al Assad and instead help with drawing up a plan to rebuild the country. The G7 foreign ministers, led by Boris Johnson and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, are reportedly ready to offer Moscow the chance to rejoin the G8 if it complies with the demand. Mr Johnson has warned the US could launch further airstrikes on Syria following its bombing of the Shayrat airfield near the city of Homs. He said it was time for Russian president Vladimir Putin “to face the truth about the tyrant he is still propping up”.