The US has launched a missile strike against Syria for the first time since the civil war began, targeting an airbase from which the US said this week’s chemical weapons attack on civilians was launched by Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The attacks have made one of the most damaging wars in recent years even more unstable, raising the spectre of a confrontation between the world’s two most powerful international military powers.
The United Nations yesterday affirmed that any actions in Syria must be in line with international law. Iran and Russia are opposed to the actions by the United States. Britain, Canada, France, and Israel have shown varied degrees of support for those actions.
The United Nations political affairs chief, Jeffrey Feltman, stated that any actions should be “rooted in the principles of the United Nations and international law” and that the actions that are needed immediately should be in line with those as well as protecting the Syrian people.
“There can be no genuine protection if the parties to the conflict, government and opposition alike, are permitted to act with impunity,” Feltman said to the UN Security Council, “and if the Syrian government continues to commit human rights violations against its own citizens.”
The United States cruise missiles on the Syrian airbase have been close to partaking of a clash with the Russian military. The Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated that the United States President Donald Trump and his first “foray” into the Syrian Civil War is a potential problem.
The Russian representative to the UN Council, the UN Security Council, has decried the airstrikes by the nine states with the cruise missiles. However, the United States and its allies have shown support for the strikes.
The United States ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley stated that the Trump Administration will be prepared to take more steps in Syria as necessary. She has stated that it is not something they hope will be necessary, but that the United States military is prepared to do more.
Haley said, “The United States will not stand by when chemical weapons are used. It is in our vital national security interest to prevent the spread and use of chemical weapons.”
The airbase in Syria was the Shayrat airbase and actually was home to Russian special forces and military helicopters. It is in part of the Kremlin’s efforts to support the Syrian government’s efforts.
The Kremlin, in a public statement, stated, “President Putin views the U.S. strikes on Syria as aggression against a sovereign state in violation of the norms of international law and on a made-up pretext.”
This is in the Kremlin’s effort to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or ISIS. This has been reported as a ‘battering’ of United States-Russia relations. Moscow is hoping that Trump will revive the relationship between the United States and Russia.
The main airbase and naval facility of Russia were not hit by airstrikes by the US. The Russian President Vladimir Putin has openly condemned the airstrikes as illegal with a warning that further moves by the Trump Administration could damage the relationship between the two nations.
The ties were reported, by the CBC, to be at post-Cold War lows. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev claimed that the strikes were ‘one step away’ from “causing military clashes with Russia.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that “Canada fully supports the United States’ limited and focused action to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against innocent civilians, including many children.”
The Canadian prime minister made further statements about the use of chemical weapons in addition to the crimes of the regime in Syria against its own people.
“President Assad’s use of chemical weapons and the crimes the Syrian regime has committed against its own people cannot be ignored. These gruesome attacks cannot be permitted to continue operating with impunity,” Trudeau said, “This week’s attack in southern Idlib and the suffering of Syrians is a war crime and is unacceptable. Canada condemns all uses of chemical weapons. Canada will continue to support diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Syria.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that he “fully supports” the actions by the Trump Administration with the airstrikes in Syria. “In both word and action…[Trump]…sent a strong and clear message…the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated.” Netanyahu said.
Iran has condemned the missile launch and noted that this will “strengthen terrorists.” Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Bahram Ghasemi, said, “Iran … condemns use of chemical weapons … but at the same time believes it is dangerous, destructive and violation of international laws to use it as an excuse to take unilateral actions.”