From outrage to a united backing for punishment
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the airstrikes a “military crime”. “The American president, the French president and the British prime minister are criminals, they will gain nothing from it.”
German chancellor Angela Merkel said the strikes were a “necessary and appropriate” response. The US, UK and France had taken “responsibility ... to maintain the effectiveness of the international rejection of chemical weapons use and to warn the Syrian regime against further violations”.
Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said the strikes should be supported because they would “reduce the Syrian government’s ability to further attack its people with chemical weapons”. “The use of chemical weapons is unacceptable, and those responsible must be held accountable.”
European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said the world “has the responsibility to identify and hold accountable those responsible” for last week’s “heinous chemical weapons attack” in Douma.
China’s foreign ministry said any military action that bypasses the UN security council was a violation of international law. “China believes that a political solution is the only realistic way out for the Syrian issue.” .
UN secretary general António Guterres said that while use of chemical weapons was “abhorrent”, he urged caution in retaliating. “I urge all member states to show restraint and to avoid any acts that could escalate the situation and worsen the suffering of the Syrian people.”
Turkey’s foreign ministry said it welcomed the strikes as an “appropriate response”. Ankara said chemical weapons attacks that indiscriminately target civilians “constitute crimes against humanity” and should not go unpunished.
Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau, who ruled out his country’s participation in military action in Syria, gave unequivocal support for the targeted bombings, adding that those responsible for the chemical attack in Douma “must be brought to justice”.
Israel, which was recently accused by Iran of carrying out its own airstrikes on military bases in Syria, was among the first to praise the strikes. “Last year, President Trump made clear that the use of chemical weapons crosses a red line. Tonight, under American leadership, the US, France and the UK enforced that line.”
The Iraqi foreign ministry said the airstrikes were “a very dangerous development”. “Such action could have dangerous consequences, threatening the security and stability of the region and giving terrorism another opportunity to expand.”