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UK Backs US Airstrikes In Syria As Russia, Iran Kicks
The United Kingdom has said that it is in support of the airstrikes carried out by US fighter jets against forces of the Syrian government on Monday night, but Russia and Iran criticized the move, saying it could further strengthen terrorism.
UK defence secretary, Michael Fallon, described the attack as a “very limited and appropriate action”.
He pointed out that the country’s government was not asked to get involved militarily but it had been informed of the decision to go ahead with the strike.
The US missile strike against an air base in Syria was in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack carried out by the Bashir Al-Assad-led Syrian government.
At least 80 people were killed and hundreds injured in the chemical attack on a rebel-held town in north-western Syria on Tuesday.
Similarly, a spokeswoman of the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May said: “We believe it was an appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack launched by the Syrian regime, and is intended to deter further attacks.”
In a related development, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande issued a joint statement supporting the US air strike.
The statement read: “President Assad alone bears the responsibility for this development. His repeated use of chemical weapons and his crimes against his own people demand sanctions which France and Germany already asked for in the summer 2013 after the massacre at Ghouta.
“France and Germany, together with their partners and in the framework of the UN, will continue their efforts to hold President Assad responsible for his crimes.”
Both Countries called on the international community to do “everything to implement Resolution 2254 of the UN Security Council for a political transition in Syria.”
But Russian spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, described the airstrikes as “active aggression”, violating international norms on an “invented premise”, saying that it will do considerable damage to US-Russian relations, which were already in a very poor state.
He said the attacks on the Shayrat airbase is an “aggression against a sovereign nation” and an “attempt to distract the world from civilian casualties from US military action in Iraq.”
A statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry read: “It is obvious that the US cruise missile strike had been pre-prepared. It is clear to any specialist that Washington made the decision to strike before the events in Idlib, which were only used as a pretext for a show of force.”
Russian lawmaker Dmitry Sablin, told newsmen that no Russians were hurt in the missile strikes on the Shayrat Syrian airbase, even though some Russian soldiers were present at the airbase at the time of the airstrikes.
Sablin, who is the deputy head of a Russian military veterans group, said the information was based on his own sources.
Similarly, spokesman of the Iranian foreign ministry, Bahram Qasemi released a strong statement condemning the US airstrikes.
“Iran strongly condemns any such unilateral strikes … such measures will strengthen terrorists in Syria… and will complicate the situation in Syria and the region,” the statement read.
The governor of the Syrian City of Homs, Talal Barazi gave a stinging rebuke to the US missile attacks on Syria, adding that it won’t stop the government’s actions.
He told newsmen that he wasn’t “surprised” at “America and Israel supporting this terrorism.”
This recent development, analysts say, has brought to the fore the unpredictability of US President, Donald Trump.
A BBC political analyst said: “Here was a president who had been saying nice things about President Putin and was talking about boosting relations with Russia.
“He was depicted in state-run media almost as a fairy tale figure, a knight in shining armour who was going to ride to the rescue of US-Russia relations.
“All of that has gone now really. This morning we’ve been hearing a lot of criticism of Mr Trump.
“One pro-government radio station said it was clear he had not beaten Hillary Clinton in last year’s election because the military scenario we’re seeing is hers.”