Early on Saturday, the US, Britain and France launched a series of missile attacks against Syria in response to what they claimed was a chemical attack by the Syrian government in the town of Douma in the suburb of Damascus on April 7. Here is a roundup of international reactions to the recent joint airstrikes.
Following the attacks people from across the globe took to the streets to condemn the airstrikes.
“The Syrian Arab Republic condemns in the strongest terms the brutal American-British-French aggression against Syria, which constitutes a flagrant violation of international law,” said the foreign ministry.
“A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military,” US President Donald Trump tweeted.
“Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!”
US Ambassador Nikki Haley warned her UN counterparts that although the mission was designed as a one-off, that did not preclude further action against Assad.
“I spoke to the president this morning and he said: ‘If the Syrian regime uses this poisonous gas again, the United States is locked and loaded,'” Haley said at emergency Security Council talks.
“When our president draws a red line, our president enforces the red line.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the strikes violate the UN Charter and international law.
The US launched “an aggression against a sovereign state which is at the forefront of the fight against terrorism.”
He stressed that the attacks were not sanctioned by the UN Security Council, and were carried out “in violation of the UN Charter and principles of international law.”
“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.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau voiced support for the airstrikes, stating that “Canada stands with our friends in this necessary response and we condemn in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons in last week’s attack.”
“Those responsible must be brought to justice,” he added.
“There’s deep concern in Brazil with the escalation of military conflict in Syria,” said Brazilian President Michel Temer.
“It’s time to find permanent solutions based on international law to a war that has been going for far too long and ended too many lives,” he added.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos voiced support for the attacks, while condemning the use of chemical weapons.
“We support actions to punish their use and seek their total elimination,” Santos said.
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.”
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has condemned joint airstrikes by the US, the UK and France on Syria as “crime,” describing the leaders of the three Western states as “criminals.”
“I clearly declare that the US president, the French president and the UK prime minister are criminals and have committed a crime,” the Leader said on Saturday.
“Those who were overtly and covertly supporting Daesh claim today to be confronting and defeating them [the terrorists]! That’s a lie; that is not the case. They had no role” in efforts to defeat the Takfiri outfit, the Leader said.
“At a time that terrorists are suffering a defeat in Syria on a daily basis, such aggressive act certainly means support for these defeated groups,” President Hassan Rouhani said in a telephone conversation with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday.
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.”
Lebanese’s Hezbollah resistance movement also sharply condemned the barrage of US, French and British air strikes on Syria, praising the Arab neighbor’s air defense for confronting the missile attacks.
“America’s war against Syria, and against the region’s peoples and resistance movement, will not achieve its aims,” Hezbollah said in a statement.
The resistance movement has been helping the Syrian army on the battlefield against foreign-backed terrorists.
“A year ago I gave Israel’s total support for President Donald Trump’s decision to mobilize 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.
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.”
“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.”
Poland’s foreign ministry said that the international community could not remain passive in the face of alleged chemical weapons attacks against civilians in Syria.
“We view recent events in the context of repeated chemical weapons attacks against Syria’s civilian population, and as a consequence of the impunity enjoyed by their perpetrators so far,” the Polish foreign ministry said in a statement in English.
“The lack of an appropriate response encourages further attacks with the use of weapons which are both banned under international law and blatantly unhumanitarian,” said the Polish foreign ministry on its website.
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 minimize 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.
“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.
The UN Security Council has failed to adopt Russia’s draft resolution condemning the recent joint airstrikes.
The resolution was rejected at an emergency meeting of the Security Council on Saturday that was convened at Moscow’s request, with three votes in favor, eight votes against and four abstentions.
The one-page draft resolution, read by Russia’s Permanent Envoy at the UN Vasily Nevenzya, condemned the military action against Syria and called on the three Western countries to “halt the aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic immediately and without any delay” and refrain from further use-of-force actions in violation of the UN Charter.