‘Nec­es­sary and ap­pro­pri­ate’: U.S. al­lies sup­port airstrikes

Rus­sia, Iran warn ac­tion brings con­se­quences

USA TODAY International Edition - - NEWS - Su­san Miller and Oren Dorell

U.S.-led airstrikes against Syr­ian chem­i­cal tar­gets drew words of sup­port across the globe Satur­day — mixed with some con­dem­na­tion — hours af­ter ex­plo­sions rum­bled through the cap­i­tal, Da­m­as­cus.

The strikes, led in part­ner­ship with Britain and France, hit Syria one week af­ter re­ports of a hor­rific chem­i­cal at­tack in the town of Douma that led to the deaths of men, women and chil­dren, many of whom are be­lieved to have suf­fo­cated.

French For­eign Min­is­ter Jean-Yves Le Drian de­fended the ac­tion as le­git­i­mate and needed to end a “chem­i­cal es­ca­la­tion” in Syria that he said was not ac­cept­able be­cause it vi­o­lated the rules of war and of hu­man­ity.

Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May stressed that the mil­i­tary ac­tion was tar­geted and lim­ited. She de­scribed the at­tack as nei­ther “about in­ter­ven­ing in a civil war” nor “about regime change” but in­stead a strike that “does not fur­ther es­ca­late ten­sions in the re­gion” and does ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to pre­vent civil­ian ca­su­al­ties.

Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel said her coun­try sup­ported the ac­tion, call­ing the strikes “nec­es­sary and ap­pro­pri­ate.”

The Euro­pean Union also stood with the United States. “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,” EU Pres­i­dent Don­ald Tusk tweeted.

Is­rael’s gov­ern­ment called the joint strike “ap­pro­pri­ate.”

“Last year, Pres­i­dent Trump made it clear that us­ing chem­i­cal weapons crossed a red line. Tonight, led by the Amer­i­cans, the U.S., France and Britain acted ap­pro­pri­ately,” the state­ment said, ac­cord­ing to the Times of Is­rael.

Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau also backed the ac­tion.

“Canada con­demns in the strong­est pos­si­ble terms the use of chem­i­cal weapons in last week’s at­tack in east­ern Ghouta, Syria,” he said in a state­ment.

Rus­sia, a staunch Syr­ian ally, was quick to de­nounce the op­er­a­tion. Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin called the strikes an “act of ag­gres­sion” that was “de­struc­tive for the en­tire sys­tem of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions,” ac­cord­ing to a state­ment on the Krem­lin’s web­site. Putin also re­peated Rus­sia’s claim that a chem­i­cal at­tack in Douma was fake.

Rus­sia’s U.S. em­bassy re­leased a state­ment say­ing that “all re­spon­si­bil­ity” lies with Wash­ing­ton, Lon­don and Paris, and the mil­i­tary ac­tion “will not be left with­out con­se­quences.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei called the airstrikes a “crime” and la­beled the lead­ers of the U.S., France and the U.K. as “crim­i­nals,” ac­cord­ing to Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency.

The Ira­nian For­eign Min­istry also con­demned the strike and warned of un­spec­i­fied con­se­quences.

In China, For­eign Min­istry spokesper­son Hua Chun­y­ing said the ac­tion could fur­ther com­pli­cate is­sues in Syria.

“Any uni­lat­eral mil­i­tary ac­tion that by­passes the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil runs con­trary to the pur­pose and prin­ci­ples of the United Na­tions char­ter,” Hua said, call­ing for world pow­ers to re­solve the Syria con­flict through di­a­logue and ne­go­ti­a­tion.

“Tonight, led by the Amer­i­cans, the U.S., France and Britain acted ap­pro­pri­ately.”

Is­raeli gov­ern­ment state­ment

Mil­i­tary strikes de­stroyed the Syr­ian Sci­en­tific Re­search Cen­ter. AP

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