‘An unequivocal message’: How the world reacted to the Syrian airstrikes

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'An unequivocal message': How the world reacted to the Syrian airstrikesAir strikes carried out by the US, UK and France against the Syrian regime have been welcomed by their Western allies. President Donald Trump on Friday night addressed the American people to announce that military action had been taken in Syria, with the support of Britain and France. Three targets were chosen, to strike at the heart of a regime held culpable by the West for a chemical gas attack in a suburb of Damascus last week, that killed more than 70 people and injured dozens more. Theresa May, the Prime Minister, insisted that the strikes were "limited" and were not intended to drive regime change. Here is how the world reacted: Iran  Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said an attack on Syria by the United States, France and Britain on Saturday was a crime and would not achieve any gains. "Today's dawn attack on Syria is a crime. I clearly declare that the president of the United States, the president of France and the British prime minister are criminals," Khamenei said in a speech, according to his Twitter account. "They will not benefit (from the attack) as they went to Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan in the past years and committed such crimes and did not gain any benefits," Khamenei said. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei poses for a portrait Iran – the dominant Shi’ite Muslim power which is in rivalry with Saudi Arabia and the United States’ other Sunni Arab friends – has fought decades of sectarian proxy wars in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen. Iran's pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani also warned that the U.S.-led missile attack on Syria would lead to further destruction in the Middle East, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported. "Such attacks will have no result but more destruction … the Americans want to justify their presence in the region by such attacks," Rouhani was quoted as saying by Tasnim. Rouhani signalled that Iran's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would grow. "The Syrian nation will continue to resist against foreign aggression …Iran has always helped and will continue to support oppressed nations in the region and around the globe," Rouhani said. Iranian Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan said: "The Syrian people will certainly answer these attacks and the people of the world should condemn this aggression," Fars news agency reported. An official in Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the Islamic Republic's most powerful arm, said the fallout from the attacks will be at Washington's expense. Britain, the US and France on Friday night bombed Syria. Pictured is an RAF Tornado GR4 landing at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, which could be deployed against the Syrian government "With this attack … the situation will become more complex, and this will surely be at the expense of the United States, which will be responsible for the aftermath of upcoming regional events that will certainly not be in their interest," Yadollah Javani, the Guards' deputy head for political affairs, told Fars news agency. "The resistance front will be strengthened and it will have more capacity to act against (U.S.) acts of intervention. Americans should expect the consequences of their actions," Javani said. Iran often refers to regional countries and forces opposed to Israel and the United States as a "resistance front". "Undoubtedly, the United States and its allies, which took military action against Syria despite the absence of any proven evidence … will assume responsibility for the regional and trans-regional consequences of this adventurism," Iran's Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by state media. "Iran is opposed to the use of chemical weapons on the basis of religious, legal and ethical standards, while at the same time it … strongly condemns (using this) as an excuse to commit aggression against a sovereign state," it said. Iran has been Assad's most supportive ally against insurgents throughout the conflict. Iran-backed militias helped his army stem rebel advances and, following Russia’s entry into the war in 2015, turn the tide decisively in Assad’s favour. Analyst Hossein Sheikholeslam, a former Iranian ambassador to Damascus, told state television the attacks would help unite Syrians behind the government. "These attacks will stabilise the Syrian government… and unite the different tribes in Syria as Syrians become aware of their honour and come to the defence of the independence, territorial integrity and the government of their country," Sheikholeslam said. Israel Israel said in response to the American-led strike in Syria that the Middle Eastern country's "murderous actions" had put it in danger. An official said in a statement that Mr Trump made clear last year that the use of chemical weapons was a red line not to be crossed. Damascus sky lights up with service to air missile fire as the U.S. launches an attack on Syria targeting different parts of the Syrian capital Damascus, Syria, early Saturday, April 14, 2018 Credit: AP He said the overnight operation carried out by the United States, France and Britain followed that example. The official said that "Syria continues to carry out murderous actions and be a base for these actions and others, including Iran's, that put its territory, forces and leadership in peril." The official spoke anonymously according to protocol. There has been no other official Israeli response yet. Israel has issued several stern warnings of late about Iran's increased involvement along its border in Syria in Lebanon. Iraq Air strikes carried out by the United States, France and Britain against Syrian military targets could give terrorism an opportunity to expand in the region, the Iraqi foreign ministry said on Saturday. The air strikes marked a "a very dangerous development", the ministry said in statement. "Such action could have dangerous consequences, threatening the security and stability of the region and giving terrorism another opportunity to expand after it was ousted from Iraq and forced into Syria to retreat to a large extent," it said. The ministry called on Arab leaders to discuss the situation at a summit due to be held in Saudi Arabia on Sunday. Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia has expressed its full support for US-led strikes on Syrian government military installations, saying they were a response to "regime crimes" against civilians. "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. Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud meets with U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump during a reception ceremony in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 20, 2017 Credit: Reuters The statement, carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, said the strikes were prompted by the "Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians, including women and children". Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have been key backers of Syrian opposition groups fighting Assad. Turkey Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has welcomed Western strikes against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad's regime as "appropriate" in retaliation for Damascus' "inhumane" attacks. "We consider this operation as appropriate," Erdogan told a meeting of his ruling party in Istanbul. "The regime has seen that its mounting attacks in recent days against dissidents … will not be left unanswered." China China said it was "opposed to the use of force" following US-led air strikes against Syria and called for a "return to the framework of international law". "We consistently oppose the use of force in international relations, and advocate respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement on its website. Hua said unilateral military action bypassing the UN Security Council would "add new complicating factors to the resolution of the Syrian issue". Xi Jinping and Donald Trump Credit: Getty "China believes that a political solution is the only realistic way out for the Syrian issue," she added. "China urges all the relevant parties to return to the framework of international law and to resolve the issue through dialogue and consultation." China is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. Beijing has consistently said the Syrian crisis needs a "political solution" but has numerous times vetoed Security Council measures aimed at addressing the conflict – including an investigation of war crimes in the country. Germany German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday the air strikes against the Syrian regime were "necessary and appropriate" after the suspected chemical weapons attacks that killed dozens in Douma. "We support the fact that our US, British and French allies … assumed their responsibilities. The military intervention was necessary and appropriate," Merkel said in a statement. "Everything leads us to believe that (Assad) bears responsibility" for the Douma attack, Merkel said. The chancellor on Thursday had ruled out Germany joining any military action against Syria. On Saturday she said it appeared likely that the Syrian regime "had used chemical weapons against its own people on several occasions in the past". Merkel added: "A century after the end of World War I… we must fight against the erosion of the (international) convention on chemical weapons". "Germany will undertake, in a determined way, diplomatic efforts to support this," Merkel said. Nato The head of Nato expressed his support for Western strikes in Syria. Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement: "I support the actions taken by the United States, the United Kingdom and France. "This will reduce the regime's ability to further attack the people of Syria with chemical weapons." The United Nations UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday called for restraint and for countries to avoid any acts that could escalate the situation in Syria after the United States, France and Britain carried out strikes. Guterres delayed a planned trip to Saudi Arabia to deal with the aftermath of the military action. "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," Guterres said in a statement. The situation in the Middle East is in such chaos that it has become a threat to international peace and security. And today Syria represents the most serious dimension of that threat. https://t.co/ISRvKL1bgs— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) April 14, 2018 "Any use of chemical weapons is abhorrent. The suffering it causes is horrendous," Guterres said. The UN chief said it was important to act in line with the UN charter and international law. He urged the UN Security Council to agree on establishing an inquiry that would identify the perpetrators of chemical attacks. European Union European Council president Donald Tusk said the European Union would stand with its allies "on the side of justice". Strikes by US, France and UK make it clear that Syrian regime together with Russia & Iran cannot continue this human tragedy, at least not without cost. The EU will stand with our allies on the side of justice.— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) April 14, 2018 "Strikes by US, France and UK make it clear that Syrian regime together with Russia & Iran cannot continue this human tragedy, at least not without cost," he wrote on Twitter. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the EU commission, said the use of chemical weapons was "unacceptable in any circumstances": 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. #Syriapic.twitter.com/beF6IEirEP— Jean-Claude Juncker (@JunckerEU) April 14, 2018 Boris Johnson will meet with European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday at a meeting to dominated by the strikes on Syria, James Crisp reports from Brussels.  Through the weekend, British diplomats and ministers will be in touch with their EU counterparts to lay the groundwork for discussion over Friday night's air strikes. EU Ministers are expected to back language condemning the use of chemical weapons in the conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council.  Before the joint US-UK and French attack, London and Paris was pushing to toughen up the language of the draft joint statement, which will decry the use of chemical weapons and the greying of the international line against their use. Those efforts are continuing.  Intervention in Syria | Read more The debate among ministers will include discussion over the strike but also how to prevent the use of chemical weapons in the future and secure a ceasefire in Syria.  Mr Johnson can expect support from other EU member states such as Belgium and the Netherlands.  The meeting was always going to be important for Britain as it is the first Foreign Affairs Council after Theresa May secured EU support for condemning Russia for the Salisbury attack. The Telegraph understands the conclusions will take a tougher line on Russia and Iran than the statement agreed by EU leaders on March 21.  This will not include sanctions at this stage but there is likely to be language stating that option remains on the table.  Asia Indonesia expressed concern over the airstrikes while strongly condemning the use of chemical weapons that caused the loss of many innocent lives, Nicola Smith reports. “Indonesia is concerned about unilateral actions by any parties, including the use of Tomahawk missiles, in response to the chemical weapons attack tragedy in Syria,” foreign ministry spokesperson Arrmanatha Nasir said. Jakarta argued that taking military actions without prior authorisation from the UN Security Council was not in line with international legal principles in the peaceful settlement of disputes. The country further requests the UN Security Council take immediate steps to resolve the crisis in Syria, reported the Jakarta Post. “For Indonesia, peace and stability in Syria can only be achieved through dialogue and an inclusive political process,” said Mr Arrmanatha. Meanwhile, the Philippine foreign ministry advised all its citizens in Syria to remain in their homes until further notice, said spokesman Elmer Cato. Cato said the Philippine charge d’affaires in Syria, Crescente Relacion, had “described the more or less one hour missile barrage” as “like New Year in Manila.” Canada Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, has ruled out Canadian participation in the strikes but said that Canada supports the decision by its allies in the US, the United Kingdom and France. "Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons in last week's attack in eastern Ghouta, Syria," said Mr Trudeau, in a statement issued from Lima, Peru, where he is attending the Summit of the Americas. "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. Canada supports the decision by the United States, the United Kingdom and France to take action against the Assad regime’s ability to launch chemical weapons attacks. Statement: https://t.co/P5jkVJPriv— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) April 14, 2018 "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." Earlier on Friday, Canada became the latest country to lay the blame for a deadly chemical-weapons attack in Syria last week at Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's doorstep, despite Russian suggestions to the contrary. "When it comes to this use of chemical weapons, it is clear to Canada that chemical weapons were used and that they were used by the Assad regime," said Chrystia Freeland, Canadian foreign minister. Australia Australia, a staunch ally of the US and a member of the Five Eyes security alliance, was not a part of the attacks on Damascus and Homs, but issued a statement lending its support to the coalition’s actions. Malcolm Turnbull, the prime minister, said in a statement jointly issued with the foreign and defence ministers: “The use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere, under any circumstances is illegal and utterly reprehensible. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says Australia supports the air strikes on Syria from the US, Britain and France pic.twitter.com/Ar5aFQrwUn— Tara Cosoleto (@tcosoleto) April 14, 2018 “The Assad regime must not be allowed to commit such crimes with impunity.” Mr Turnbull said the strikes were “a calibrated, proportionate and targeted response”. “They send an unequivocal message to the Assad regime and its backers, Russia and Iran, that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated.”





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