A top Russian official has warned the Trump administration not to “play with fire” in Syria, accusing the U.S. of engaging in “very dangerous games” after more than 200 Russian mercenaries were reportedly killed by U.S. airstrikes earlier this month. The U.S. said the strikes were carried out in “self defense” after Syrian troops attacked the Syrian Democratic Forces, a predominantly Kurdish group backed by Washington. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday said the “provocative” U.S. support for Kurdish-led forces in Syria “could lead to the dismemberment of the Syrian state.” “We are seeing attempts to exploit the Kurds’ aspirations,” he said at a conference alongside Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Lavrov’s warning comes amid heightened tensions in the region, as U.S. support for a Kurdish-led border protection force in Syria pit Washington against Tehran and Moscow.
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