Bashar Assad tours Russian military base in Syria
Pro-regime media has published a video of Syrian regime leader Bashar Assad inspecting the Russian Hmeimim air base in western Syria and climbing into the cockpit of a Russian SU-35 fighter jet.
The military media outlet said Assad was accompanied by the Russian Army's Chief of Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, to inspect the base near the coastal city of Latakia.
Photos posted by the military media showed a Russian helicopter and armored trucks on base.
Assad wore a business suit and was accompanied by Russian staff in military uniform.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin dismissed the White House's warning that the Syrian regime is preparing a new chemical attack and that Assad and his military "will pay a heavy price" if it goes ahead.
President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that "such threats to Syria's legitimate leaders are unacceptable."
In a stern warning to Assad Monday night, the White House claimed it had detected activity resembling the buildup to a chemical weapons attack that took place on April 4.
Assad has denied responsibility for that attack in the rebel-held Idlib province that killed dozens of people, and Russia, Assad's key backer, sided with him. Days later, President Donald Trump ordered a retaliatory cruise missile strike on a Syrian government-controlled air base.