The Syrian Shayrat airfield base is pictured in undated before and after (taken April 7, 2017) satellite imagery, in Homs Syria. ImageSat International N.V. آ© 2017/Handout via REUTERS
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Russia and Iran renewed their support for the Syrian government in a flurry of calls Sunday, saying last week's U.S. missile strike violated Syrian sovereignty but failed to boost the morale of "terror groups" in Syria.In a phone call with Syrian President Bashar Assad, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the strike Friday a "blatant violation" of Syrian sovereignty, Syrian state media reported. Assad accused the U.S. of trying to boost the morale of "terror groups" in Syria. Rouhani said the U.S. strike would not affect Iran's Syria policy, while Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran would not withdraw in the face of such aggressions.The U.S. says the strike was in response to a nerve gas attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun last week, widely blamed on government forces.The gas attack has piled pressure on Assad. Sadr is the only Iraqi Shiite leader to keep some distance from Iran, a main backer of Assad along with Russia.Just days before the chemical attack, U.S. envoy to the U.N. Nikki Haley and Tillerson both had indicated that removing Assad from power was no longer a U.S. priority.
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