An unidentified US Navy destroyer launching missiles at a Syrian government air base. Video: TheMozzextras
Iran has condemned a United States strike on a Syrian air base and Indonesia expressed concern while Britain, Australia and New Zealand have given their support, with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull describing it as a “proportionate and calibrated response” to the use of chemical weapons.
US President Donald Trump ordered missile strikes on Thursday against a Syrian airfield from which a deadly chemical weapons attack was launched, declaring he acted in America’s “vital national security interest”.
In a sharp escalation of the US military role in Syria, two US warships fired dozens of cruise missiles from the eastern Mediterranean Sea at the air base controlled by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in response to the poison gas attack in a rebel-held area on Tuesday, US officials said.
Iran denounced the strike, the Students News Agency ISNA quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying.
“Iran strongly condemns any such unilateral strikes… Such measures will strengthen terrorists in Syria … and will complicate the situation in Syria and the region,” ISNA quoted Bahram Qasemi as saying.
Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim population, said it was “very concerned” about the missile strikes.
Chemical weapons rejected
“Actions undertaken without prior consent of the United Nations Security Council are not in line with international laws, in particular the peaceful settlement of disputes in line with UN charter,” said a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, Armanatha Nasir, during a weekly press briefing.
The spokesperson added that Indonesia condemns the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
“Indonesia is a party to the convention on chemical weapons. Of course, Indonesia rejects the use of chemical weapons by anybody for whatever purpose,” said Armanatha.
In Wellingon, reports Dr Vernon Small of Fairfax Media, New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English backed the US military action with “understanding”, providing it was “proportionate”.
Ministers in New Zealand were given about two hours notice of the United States’ missile attack on the Syrian air base at al-Shayrat on Thursday, taken in response to a nerve gas attack on civilians.
English said the “horrific attacks” using chemical weapons were against all international law.
The United Nations Association of Canada called a halt to the bombing and offered a raft of protest actions.
The Trump administration launched 60 Cruise Tomahawk missiles from its offshore Mediterranean warships in the attack on Syria’s al-Shayrat military airfield near Homs, Syria’s third largest city.
The US strikes obliterated substantial portions of Syria’s military capacity there.
Trump’s action came a day after Democrat Hillary Clinton urged the US bombing of Syria.
Neither Trump nor any other US government agency presented a shed of proof that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used sarin nerve gas in its bombing of ISIS, Al Qaida or any other “rebel” groups in Syria’s Idlib province, said the UNAC statement.
President Assad denied using sarin gas while “Russia’s Defense Ministry”, according to the The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingsdom, has stated that the chemicals were released when a Syrian aircraft bombed a “rebel” arm storage facility.