|Russian soldiers distribute aid sent from Moscow to afflicted Syrian families in the town of Maaloula, north of Damascus, capital of Syria, on Oct. 2, 2016. (Xinhua/Ammar Safarjalani)|
MOSCOW, Oct. 6 -- The Russian Defense Ministry warned Thursday that it could shoot down U.S. missiles in Syria if they were used against the Syrian government forces.
"One should really be aware that crews of Russian air defense systems are unlikely to have time to clarify via a direct line the accurate flight programs of missiles and who their carriers belong to," the ministry's spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.
Earlier in the day, the U.S. media reported that Washington is considering plans to launch air strikes against the Syrian government army.
Konashenkov said that the Syrian army now have effective Russian-made S-200, Buk and other air defense missile systems, while the Russian forces have deployed in Syria the advanced S-400 and S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems, "the range of which may come as a surprise to any unidentified flying objects."
He added that any missile strikes against territories controlled by the Syrian government might present a threat to Russian servicemen working for the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria.
"I would recommend to colleagues in Washington that they carefully calculate possible consequences of such plans," said the spokesman.
On Sept. 10, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced a week-long nationwide ceasefire in Syria, but crossfire resumed in the first hours the truce expired on Sept. 19.
On Sept. 17, the U.S.-led coalition airstrikes killed over 90 Syrian troops in Syria's eastern province of Deir al-Zour, incurring a strong response from Moscow, which accused Washington of violating the ceasefire.
Konashenkov said Russia "had taken all necessary measures to avoid any such 'mistakes' aimed against Russian troops and military targets in Syria."
Earlier this week, the United States suspended negotiations with Russia on restoring ceasefire in Syria, blaming Moscow for its military role in the attack on the Syrian city of Aleppo.