US strike against Syria draws mixed international response

Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel welcomed the US attack on Syria. But regime allies Russia and Iran condemned the cruise missile strike and Indonesia criticised it as a violation of the norms of international dispute resolution.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Guided-missile destroyer USS Porter launches a cruise missile against Syria, April 7, 2017.

In a sharp escalation of the US military role in Syria, two warships fired dozens of cruise missiles from the eastern Mediterranean Sea, targeting Shayrat air base controlled by regime forces. The US assault was in response to a suspected poison gas attack on opposition-held Shaykhun in Idlib. The US action drew a mixed international response.

Support for US strike

TURKEY Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Ankara views the US missile strikes against the Syrian air base positively and the international community must sustain its stance against the "barbarity" of the Syrian regime. Kurtulmus said regime leader Bashar al Assad must be fully punished in the international arena and called for the peace process in Syria to be accelerated.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called for Assad's immediate removal, saying a transitional government must be established.

"It is necessary to oust this regime as soon as possible from the leadership of Syria," Cavusoglu said.

"If he [Assad] doesn't want to go, if there is no transition government, and if he continues committing humanitarian crimes, the necessary steps to oust him should be taken," he said.

SAUDI ARABIA Riyadh said it "fully supports" US strikes on military targets in Syria, saying it was a "courageous decision" by US President Donald Trump in response to the use of chemical weapons against civilians.

ISRAEL Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Trump “sent a strong and clear message today that the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated." The Israeli military said it had been informed in advance about the cruise missile strike.

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said a US military strike against a Syrian air field was designed to deter Assad from carrying out any further chemical weapons attacks but was not the start of a new military campaign. When asked during a TV interview if the strike was the start of a new campaign, the Defence Secretary said: "We don't see last night's strike like that."

FRANCE Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the "use of chemical weapons is appalling and should be punished because it is a war crime." He said the US had informed France ahead of its missile strikes on Syrian military positions.

POLAND A government spokesman expressed support for the US air strike, saying "the United States for sure are a guarantor of world peace and order. And there are situations when you need to react.”

ITALY Italy’s foreign minister backed the US action as reasonable and would serve as a deterrent to "Assad’s use of chemical weapons."

JAPAN Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his country supports the US government's determination to prevent the spread and use of chemical weapons.

AUSTRALIA Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull supported the US missile strike, calling it a "proportionate and calibrated response." In a televised statement, he also called on Russia to play its part in bringing peace to Syria.

Criticism and concern over US strike

RUSSIA President Vladimir Putin said that the US strikes broke international law and have seriously hurt US-Russia relations. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow saw the US action as "aggression against a sovereign nation" on a "made-up pretext" and a cynical attempt to distract the world from civilian deaths in Iraq.

IRAN Tehran’s foreign ministry said it “strongly condemns any such unilateral strikes ... such measures will strengthen terrorists in Syria ... and it will complicate the situation in Syria and the region."

INDONESIA "Indonesia is concerned with unilateral actions by any parties, including the use of Tomahawk missiles, in responding to the chemical weapon attack tragedy in Syria," Foreign Ministry spokesman Armanatha Nasir said. "Military actions, undertaken without prior authorisation of the UN Security Council, are not in line with international legal principles in the peaceful settlement of disputes, as stipulated in the UN Charter."

CHINA Beijing’s foreign ministry said it is urgent to prevent a further deterioration in the situation in Syria and called on all relevant parties to stick to political settlements.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies