PARIS: Here is a roundup of key reactions to the strikes by the United States, Britain and France against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“Russia severely condemns the attack on Syria where Russian military are helping the lawful government in the fight with terrorism,” the Kremlin said in a statement. It said it was calling an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council.
China said it was “opposed to the use of force” in international relations.
It called for a political solution and a “return to the framework of international law”.
Assad’s key regional ally, Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, branded US President Donald Trump, France’s Emmanuel Macron and Britain’s Theresa May “criminals”.
“A year ago I gave Israel’s total support for (US) President Donald Trump’s decision to mobilise against the use of chemical weapons,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, referring to American strikes against the Syrian regime in April 2017 after a sarin gas attack on a rebel-held town.
“Israel’s support remains unchanged,” he added.
Middle East/North Africa
Qatar was the first Gulf country to react. An official statement expressed support for strikes to stop attacks by the Syrian regime against civilians.
Egypt’s foreign ministry expressed “deep concern” saying the strikes undermined the “safety of our brotherly Syrian people, and threatens the understandings reached regarding the de-escalation zones.” Algerian Foreign Minister Ahmed Ouyahia said his country regretted that the strikes came “at a time when the international community was waiting for an inquiry team to be sent to verify” the chemical arms claims.
“These strikes will create an atmosphere which will weigh negatively on moves to resolve the Syrian crisis through a political settlement.”
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a statement backed the strikes, saying they “will reduce the regime’s ability to further attack the people of Syria with chemical weapons”.
Nato expressed “full support for this action intended to degrade the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons capability and deter further chemical weapon attacks against the people of Syria,” the alliance said in second statement.
“Chemical weapons cannot be used with impunity or become normalized. They are an immediate danger to the Syrian people and to our collective security.”
“I urge all member states to show restraint in these dangerous circumstances and to avoid any acts that could escalate the situation and worsen the suffering of the Syrian people,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a statement.
“Saudi Arabia fully supports the strikes launched by the United States, France and Britain against Syria because they represent a response to the regime’s crimes,” a foreign ministry statement said.
The strikes were prompted by the “Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians, including women and children”, it added.
“We welcome this operation which has eased humanity’s conscience in the face of the attack in Douma,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.
It accused Damascus of “crimes against humanity”.
European Council President Donald Tusk said on Twitter that the European Union supported the strikes and “will stand with our allies on the side of justice”.
German chancellor Angela Merkel called the strikes a “necessary and appropriate military intervention”.
The Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Spain defended the strikes as justified by evidence of a chemical attack.
“Cuba’s Revolutionary government expresses its strongest condemnation of this new attack by the United States and its allies” against “military and civilian infrastructure”.
The strikes are “a flagrant violation of the principles of international law and the charter (of the UN Security Council) and an outrage against a sovereign state which will only worsen the conflict in (Syria) and the region,” it added.
“All precautions must be taken to minimise harm to civilians in any military action,” Raed Jarrar, advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at rights watchdog Amnesty International USA said in a statement.
Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2018