Russia has warned the United States not to intervene militarily in Syria against forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, threatening that it may shoot down any aircraft attempting to launch strikes. In a bluntly worded statement, a spokesman for Russia’s defense ministry warned that Russia and the Syrian government had deployed sufficient air defenses to block any potential attacks. It follows rumbling in Washington that the White House may be considering launching strikes

against some Syrian regime military targets as an alternative option for moving forward in the Syrian conflict after the collapse of U.S.-Russian cease-fire negotiations. The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the Pentagon was presenting the Obama administration with the option of strikes at meetings this week. The strikes would be intended to increase the pressure on the Assad regime and Moscow to halt assaults on civilians and to return to possible peace negotiations. READ MORE