January 23, 2019

Morocco deplores Western air strikes on Syria, demands political solution

15 April 2018, 05:28 | Devin Moran

Alex Wong via Getty Images Defense Secretary Jim Mattis briefs members of the media on the Syria airstrikes at the Pentagon on Friday night

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis briefs members of the media on the Syria airstrikes at the Pentagon on Friday night

The United States has warned it "is locked and loaded" to strike Syria if there are any more chemical attacks, hours after more than 100 bombs targeted facilities in Damascus and Homs said to be associated with the use of chemical weapons.

France's foreign minister has threatened further missile strikes against Syria if Bashar Assad's government uses chemical weapons again.

But Vassily Nebenzia, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, accused Western powers on Friday of using the alleged attack as a pretense to oust Assad and to check Russia's power, telling the United Nations security council that Russia would consider such a strike a "breach of global law". "The whole world is looking at you".

Russia's ambassador to the U.S. warned that there would be consequences for the US-led military strikes, adding that it was not acceptable to insult Russia's president. Eight countries opposed, while four delegations abstained from voting.

The US military said the strikes "destroyed" Him Shinshar's chemical weapons storage facility, and damaged the chemical weapons bunker. But she says, "We can not allow such grievous violations of global law".

The strikes, in collaboration with the USA and France, are in response to an alleged chemical attack on the Syrian town of Douma last week. "Tonight, led by the Americans, the US, France and Britain acted appropriately", the statement said, according to the Times of Israel.

On Saturday, Defense spokeswoman Dana White and Director of the Joint Staff Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. held a press conference at the Pentagon that laid out the details of the Syrian missile strike by the US, United Kingdom and France on Friday night.

Trump praised Western air strikes against the Syrian government on Saturday as "perfectly executed", and added "Mission Accomplished".

Mr Trump said the strikes were in response to the "evil and the despicable" chemical attack which "left mothers and fathers, infants and children, thrashing in pain and gasping for air".

"We specifically identified these targets to mitigate the risk of Russian forces being involved", Dunford told reporters, adding the USA military advised Russia of airspace that would be used in the strike but did not "pre-notify them".

In the days before the mission, there was concern Russia's presence in Syria could spark an escalation or even direct confrontation with the U.S. "These three targets seemed to hit the sweet spot and do that", McKenzie said. Trump also warned Russian Federation and Iran not to stand by their ally in Damascus.

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