Sunday 15 April 2018

Syria news: How the world has responded to US-led coalition air strikes

'Canada supports the decision by the United States, the United Kingdom and France to take action,' says prime minister Justin Trudeau 

A diverse range of global leaders have responded to the US-led coalition air strikes in Syria that were orchestrated by the US, Britain and France in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The offensive was staged in response to last week’s chemical attack in Douma, Syria, which is believed to have killed at least 75 people.

Canada, China, the European Union, Germany, Iran, Israel, Russia and Turkey issued the following statements:

Prime minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement issued from Lima, Peru: “Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons in last week’s attack in Eastern Ghouta, Syria.

“Canada supports the decision by the United States, the United Kingdom and France to take action to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against its own people.

“We will continue to work with our international partners to further investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Those responsible must be brought to justice.”

China’s foreign ministry said on Saturday they are “opposed to the use of force” in Syria, AFP has reported.

European Union 
President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement on Saturday: “Last night, France, the United Kingdom and the United States responded in a coordinated military action to the heinous chemical weapons attack carried out by the Syrian regime against civilians in Douma on 7 April.

“As the European commission has stated, the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable in any circumstances and must be condemned in the strongest terms. The international community has the responsibility to identify and hold accountable those responsible of any attack with chemical weapons.

“This was not the first time that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons against civilians but it must be the last.

“As it enters its eighth year of conflict, Syria desperately needs a lasting ceasefire respected by all parties that paves the way for achieving a negotiated political solution through the United Nations-led Geneva process, to bring peace to the country once and for all. After the suffering they have endured, Syrians deserve nothing less.”

German chancellor Angela Merkel supports air strikes by the US, France and Britain as ”necessary and appropriate” to warn Syria against further use of chemical weapons.

Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei said on Saturday the ”aggression is a violation of international law,” state agencies reported. “I clearly declare that the US president, the French president and the UK prime minister are criminals and have committed a crime.”

Commenting on the events, Iran’s foreign ministry also said in a statement: “The aggression is a flagrant violation of international law and a disregard of Syria’s right to national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“Based on religious, legal and ethical regulations, Iran opposes any use of chemical weapons, but at the same time strongly rejects and condemns the fabrication of excuses to invade an independent country.”

“There is no doubt that the US and its allies that are engaged a military intervention in Syria without any substantiated document and before any final report of the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and have supposed themselves as the world police and judge, are responsible for regional and international repercussions of the adventure and should be held accountable.”

Yoav Gallant, a member of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet, said on Twitter: “The use of chemical weapons crosses a red line that humanity can no longer tolerate.”

An Israeli official said Israel was notified of the strikes ahead of time. Asked how much advanced warning Israel had received, the official told Reuters: “Between 12 and 24 hours, I believe.”

Asked whether Israel helped choose targets, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “Not to my knowledge.”

In a statement issued on Saturday morning, Russian president Vladimir Putin described the strike as “an aggressive action” and condemned the attack “in the most serious of terms”.

Konstantin Kosachyov, the influential head of the Federation Council’s Council on International Relations, said that the attack  was “an unjustified attack on a sovereign state” but now was “not a time for emotions”.

Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, said: “The worst apprehensions have come true. Our warnings have been left unheard. A predesigned scenario is being implemented. Again, we are being threatened.

“We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences. All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris.

“Insulting the president of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissible.”

Turkey’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday: “Turkey considers the operation carried out early this morning by the United States, United Kingdom and France to be an appropriate response to the chemical attack which caused the deaths of many civilians in Douma on 7 April. We welcome this operation which has eased humanity’s conscience in the face of the attack in Douma, largely suspected to have been carried out by the regime.

“Attacks with weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons, that indiscriminately target civilians constitute crimes against humanity. The Syrian regime, which has been tyrannising its own people for more than seven years, be it with conventional or chemical weapons, has a proven track record of crimes against humanity and war crimes. The conscience of the international community carries no doubt to that effect.

“Turkey believes that it is of critical importance that such crimes do not go unpunished and that accountability is ensured in order to prevent the recurrence of similar crimes.

“In light of this experience, it is essential for the international community, in particular the members of the UN Security Council, to agree upon joint steps to ensure that the use of chemical weapons does not go unpunished.”

(Source: Independent)

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