Russia's top defense official says Russia will respond if the United States launches a missile strike on the Syrian capital, Damascus.
Moscow has been one of the key allies of Syrian President Bashar Assad since it launched a military operation in the country, helping him turn the tide of war in his favor.
Gen. Valery Gerasimov, head of the Russian General Staff, said at a meeting in Moscow on Tuesday that Russia has "reliable information" that the US is preparing to "stage" a chemical weapons attack in eastern Ghouta and blame it on the Syrian government.
Gerasimov says Russia thinks the US in that case might strike Damascus' government quarter in retaliation.
He says Russia would consider a missile strike on Damascus a threat to the lives of the Russian military who are deployed there and would respond.