US allies show support for strikes on Syria

A Tomahawk cruise missile is launched from the USS Ross in a strike on a Syrian air base on April 7, 2017. President Donald Trump called the strike a response to the Syrian government's chemical weapons attack this week that killed more than 80 civil
A Tomahawk cruise missile is launched from the USS Ross in a strike on a Syrian air base on April 7, 2017. President Donald Trump called the strike a response to the Syrian government's chemical weapons attack this week that killed more than 80 civilians.PHOTO: NYTIMES

(REUTERS) - US allies around the world expressed support on Friday (April 7) for Washington's missile strikes on Syria, calling them a proportionate response to Syria's suspected use of chemical weapons.

The strikes were denounced as illegal by Syria and its allies Russia and Iran. Iraq criticised "hasty interventions" in an apparent comment on the US action.

But a wide range of US allies from Asia, Europe and the Middle East expressed support, if sometimes cautiously, in similar terms.

"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.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters: "Many innocent people became victims from the chemical attacks. The international community was shocked by the tragedy that left many young children among the victims.

 

"Japan supports the US government's determination to prevent the spread and use of chemical weapons," he said.

Turkey viewed the strikes positively and the international community should sustain its stance against the "barbarity" of the Syrian government, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said.

In an interview with Turkish broadcaster Fox TV, Kurtulmus said Assad's government must be punished in the international arena and the peace process in Syria needed to be accelerated.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Russia and Iran needed to understand that supporting Assad made no sense and that the escalation of the U.S. military role in Syria was a"warning" to "a criminal regime". "Use of chemical weapons is appalling and should be punished because it is a war crime," Ayrault told Reuters and France Info radio.

French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke by telephone. Both issued statements saying Assad was solely to blame for the air strikes.

The Dutch government said: "The United States has given a clear signal that the use of poison gas crosses a line." It also labelled the strikes a "proportionate" response.

"US strikes show needed resolve against barbaric chemical attacks. EU will work with the US to end brutality in Syria," the chairman of the council of EU leaders, Donald Tusk, said on Twitter.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the strikes sent "a vitally important message" that the world would not tolerate the use of chemical weapons.

"The retribution has been proportionate and it has been swift," he told reporters in Sydney. "We support the United States in that swift action."

Some countries expressed reservations about the US decision to launch strikes without authorisation from the UN Security Council.

Indonesia, home to the world's largest Muslim population, said it also strongly condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

"At the same time, Indonesia is concerned with unilateral actions by any parties, including the use of Tomahawk missiles, in responding to the chemical weapon attack tragedy in Syria,"Foreign Ministry spokesman Armanatha Nasir said in a text message.

"Military actions, undertaken without prior authorisation of the UN Security Council, are not in line with international legal principles in the peaceful settlement of disputes, as stipulated in the UN Charter."