A video released by Syrian presidency shows Bashar Assad arriving at work wearing a suit and a tie and carrying a briefcase. He appears not to be holed up in a bunker at all.
The video was posted on the presidency’s Telegram channel, recorded shortly after a missile attack was launched by US, British and French aircraft and warships struck at targets near the Syrian capital. Telegram is currently facing a ban in Russia.
According to the Syrian General Staff, the country’s air defense systems shot down most of the incoming missiles aimed at Damascus as well as those aimed at other targets located around in the country.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry has denounced joint US, British and French strike on the country as a “brutal, barbaric aggression,” adding that the attack “aims at hindering the mission’s work and preempting its results”.
Damascus deployed Soviet-made surface-to-air missile systems to repel the attack, including S-125 (NATO reporting name: SA-3 Goa), S-200 (SA-5 Gammon), 2K12 Kub (SA-6 Gainful) and BUK. French SCALP-EG, the UK’s Storm Shadow, and the American JASSM are likely to have been used, as well as Tomahawk cruise missiles from US and UK submarines, as well as from US Navy destroyers.
— Paul Antonopoulos (@oulosP) April 14, 2018
A Russian court meanwhile wants to block the Telegram messaging app over its creators’ failure to provide authorities with access to encrypted messages, it was reported on Friday.
Russia’s state communications watchdog sought a ban in a lawsuit that asked the court for the authority to block the app’s use in Russian territories.
The watchdog argued that the Russian authorities needed the ability to decrypt messages sent by potential terrorists and that Telegram had missed an April 4 deadline to respond. Telegram’s lawyers failed to turn up for the hearing.