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US missile attack on Syria: Trump's allies react, China calls for political solution

April 07, 11:13 UTC+3 MOSCOW

On Thursday, the US forces fired 59 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles on a Syrian military air base

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© EPA/SEAMAN FORD WILLIAMS

MOSCOW, April 7. /TASS/. Washington’s allies around the world have welcomed the US missile attack on an air base controlled by the Syrian government forces.

'Appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack'

"The UK Government fully supports the US action, which we believe was an appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack launched by the Syrian regime, and is intended to deter further attacks," a British government spokesman said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have adopted a joint statement to justify the US missile attack on Syria and call on global players to resume the political process under the UN auspices.

"President Assad is the only one responsible for these developments. The repeated use of chemical weapons and crimes against civilians required sanctions," the statement reads. At the same time, Merkel and Hollande pointed out that they had demanded force be used against the Syrian authorities back in 2013.

"Germany and France call on the global community to join efforts to advance the political process based on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 and the Geneva Communique," the statement adds. The two leaders also stressed that they were ready to take steps together with their partners within the United Nations system "in order to bring Assad to justice." 

Israel also commended the US attack. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Twitter that "Israel hopes that the determination which has been shown in connection with the horrible actions of Assad’s regime, will affect not only Damascus but Tehran, Pyongyang and other places as well." Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, in turn, said that the US attack was a sufficient and appropriate response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria’s Idlib Governorate.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus pointed out that the US missile attack on Syria could positively affect the peace process:

 "I hope that the US operation will help ensure peace <…> the Syrian regime needs to be stopped somehow," he said. According to Kurtulmus, "the UN and the global community should continue to impose sanctions against Syria until Assad’s government reaches a point when it can no longer harm its people."

'Brave decision' 

Saudi Arabia welcomed the US attack on Syria saying that the US president had made a very "brave decision," the Saudi Press Agency reported citing "responsible forces" in the country’s foreign ministry. According to the communique, Saudi Arabia "fully supports the US military operations against Syrian targets carried out in response to the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons against civilians."

"It is the regime that is responsible for it [the US operations]. We believe that it was a brave decision on the part of US President Donald Trump to respond to the regime’s crimes against its own people."

Japan’s Ministry of Defense said that the US missile attack was a very serious operation, yet the country’s authorities did not know if the US will require any kind of participation from the Japanese forcers, the Kyodo news agency reported citing a source in the ministry.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said earlier that Tokyo was still collecting information on the US missile attack in order to clarify its position later.

China disagrees 

However, China said it did not support the use of force in order to resolve the Syrian conflict. China has called upon the stakeholders to refrain from abandoning the search for a political solution to the Syrian crisis, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a briefing.

The German foreign minister said the United Nations should once again take control of the process of peaceful settlement of the Syrian conflict following the US missile attack. "Whatever the reasons were for the US attack on the military infrastructure, it is very important that the UN takes control of the joint efforts to settle the conflict," he said.

On Thursday, at the direction US President Donald Trump, the US forces fired 59 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM) on a Syrian military air base located in the Homs Governorate. The attack came as a response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Idlib Governorate on April 4. The US authorities believe that the airstrike was launched form that very air base.

On April 4, Reuters cited the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights saying that an airstrike on Syrian’s town of Khan Shaykhun had killed 58 people including 11 children. Reuters alleged that the chemical attack could have been carried out by "Syrian government or Russian jets."

The World Health Organization said in a statement that "at least 70 people have died and hundreds more have been affected."

The Russian and Syrian militaries denied their involvement in the attack. Russia’s Defense Ministry later said that on April 4, the Syrian air force had delivered an airstrike on the eastern outskirts of Khan Shaykhun to destroy militant facilities used to produce chemical bombs. These bombs were sent to Iraq and were previously used in Aleppo.

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