‘Strong message’ or ‘aggression’: How the world reacted to US air strike on Syria
While Russia condemned the attack, Israel welcomed Trump’s “clear message” to Syria.world Updated: Apr 07, 2017 13:10 IST
The US hit a Syrian military air base on Thursday night with a volley of 60 Tomahawk missiles, launching its first direct attack against the Bashar al-Assad. In an address to the nation, US President Donald Trump said, “Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on airfield in Syria from which the chemical attack was launched.
The air strike sent ripples across the international community. While Syria’s allies Russia and Iran condemned the attack, Trump’s order received support from the governments of the United Kingdom, Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Russia, which is a prime ally of the Assad government in Syria and provides military support to the Syrian army, condemned the air strikes.
An official statement from the Kremlin said that the airstrikes dealt “significant damage to US-Russian ties, which are already in a deplorable state.”
President Vladimir Putin “regards the strikes as aggression against a sovereign nation”, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian media. Peskov added that the strikes were carried out “in violation of international law, and also under an invented pretext.”
Israel “fully supported” the air strikes, according to a strongly-worded statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “In both word and action, President Trump sent a long and clear message today that the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated,” said the statement. Netanyahu further added that Israel hoped that Trump’s ‘message” would resonate not only in Damascus, but in Tehran, Pyongyang and elsewhere”.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Bahram Qasemi condemned the strike. Qasemi censured the use of chemical weapons, but said that the air strikes would “not only complicate the situation in Syria, but the entire region”.
“Tehran considers this excuse for unilateral action as dangerous, destructive and violation of fundemental principles of international law,” he said.
Britain’s government “fully supports” US strikes against a Syrian air base launched after a suspected chemical attack on Tuesday, a spokesman said.
“The UK government fully supports the US action, which we believe was an appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack launched by the Syrian regime,” the spokesman said in a statement on Friday.
He also said the US strikes were “intended to deter further attacks”.
China proceeded with caution, urging calm in dealing with the Syrian conflict. “What is urgent now is to avoid further deterioration of the situation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying said during a regular press briefing.
She continued: “We oppose use of chemical weapons by any country, organisation or individual in any circumstance, for any purpose.”
Turkey, which is a key player in the Syria conflict and a NATO ally, welcomed the strikes as “positive.”
The deputy foreign minister added: “We believe that the Assad regime must be punished completely in the international arena.”
A foreign ministry official hailed US President Donald Trump as “courageous” for taking action when “the international community has failed to put a halt to the regime’s actions.”
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters that the government supported the airstrikes, calling them a “swift and just response”.
“This was a calibrated, proportionate and targeted response. It sends a strong message to the Assad regime, and ... has been struck at the very airfield from which the chemical attack was delivered,” Turnbull said.