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Czech PM changes stance on Syria strikes after conversation with president

On Saturday, Andrej Babis said that the the strike on the Syrian regime, which has been targeting civilians with chemical weapons, was inevitable

PRAGUE, April 16. /TASS/. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis changed his stance on the air strikes on Syria, carried out by the US, Great Britain and France, after a conversation with President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman, as can be seen from the statements he made while talking with reporters.

"It would have been better if the strike was conducted after the United Nations Security Council had issued a mandate," Babis said.

On Saturday, the Czech prime minister said that the "the strike on the Syrian regime, which has been targeting civilians with chemical weapons, was inevitable."

Babis also criticized the Saturday statements made by Czech Defense Minister Karla Slechtova and Foreign Minister Martin Stropincky, saying they had been hasty to assess the missile attack on Syria after the first reports from the Middle East.

"The problem was that our two ministers were competing to see who is the first to make a statement, they were addressing press conferences. I would like to note that it did not reflect the entire government’s position," Babis said.

The Czech prime minister also called for resolving the Syrian conflict through diplomatic means. In his view, in order to achieve this goal, Russia, the European Union, the United States, Turkey and Israel need to cooperate, while the EU should step up its activities as far as the Syria issue is concerned.

Missile attack on Syria

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the missile attack on Syria’s military and civilian infrastructure facilities was carried out by US warplanes and naval ships in cooperation with British and French on Saturday. The Syrian air defenses managed to shoot down 71 out of 103 missiles fired by the United States and its allies.

Earlier, the US, Great Britain and France claimed the strikes had been conducted in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, a suburb of the Syrian capital.

Washington, London and Paris claimed the strikes to be a response to a chemical weapons attack, which had allegedly happened in the Syrian town of Douma on April 7. Reports about the incident had been spread by a number of non-government organizations, including the White Helmets.

The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed those allegations as a bogus story, while Russia’s Defense Ministry pointed out that the White Helmets were not a reliable source of information as they were known for spreading fabricated news.

On April 9, officers from the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the opposing sides in Syria visited Douma but did not find any traces of chemical weapons.