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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Friday, July 20, 2018

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Iran and Greece join Russia in condemning U.S. intervention in Syria

the strike violates all international laws and conventions

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DAMASCUS, Syria - The Syrian Armed Forces Command has condemned the attack on its air base by the U.S. military on Friday, saying the attack will only benefit ISIS.

“At 3:42 am today, the United States of America committed a blatant act of aggression targeting one of our airbases in the Central Region with a number of missiles, leaving six people martyred and a number of others injured and causing huge material damage,” the Army’s Command said in a statement released on Friday.

The attack, the statement added, makes the United States of America a “partner” of ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist organizations.

The Army’s Command said the U.S.’s attempt to justify this aggression by saying that it is in response to the Syrian army’s use of chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun town in Idleb, "without yet determining the reality of and the perpetrators behind what happened there, sends wrong messages to the terrorist organizations that would embolden them further to use chemical weapons in the future every time they suffer heavy losses in the battlefield.”

The Syrian command said the strike violates all international laws and conventions and aims at affecting the capabilities of the Syrian army in its fight against terrorism.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, agrees.

"President Putin considers the U.S. strikes against Syria an aggression against a sovereign country violating the norms of international law, and under a trumped-up pretext at that," Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Friday.

"The fact that all Syrian armed forces’ chemical weapons stockpiles were eliminated was registered and confirmed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), a specialized UN unit," he said.

"Putin believes that total disregard for the use of chemical weapons by terrorists only exacerbates the situation significantly." 

"Putin also sees the strikes on Syria by the U.S. as an attempt to divert the attention of the international community from numerous civilians casualties in Iraq," Peskov said.

"Washington’s move impairs the Russian-U.S. relations, which are in a deplorable state, substantially." 

"And, most importantly, Putin believes that this step does not bring us closer to the ultimate goal in the fight against international terrorism. On the contrary, it creates serious obstacles to efforts to forge an international coalition to fight against it and effectively counter this global evil," the Russian president's spokesman added.

Later on Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that Russia has suspended its agreement with the U.S. military to coordinate on their respective air raids over Syria.

“Russia suspends the memorandum on the prevention of incidents and ensuring air safety during operations in Syria reached with the U.S.,” the ministry said in a statement.

Russia has called on the UN Security Council to call an emergency meeting to discuss the U.S. intervention.

“We are calling for a UN Security Council emergency meeting to discuss the current situation,” the ministry said Friday.

The statement added that the U.S. attack in Syria was nothing else than a show of force, stressing that the decision to attack Syria was made ahead of the  chemical attack.

“It is clear that the decision to conduct the strike in Syria was made in Washington before the incident in Idleb, which was used as a pretext for this demonstration of strength,” the Russian Foreign ministry said.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi strongly condemned the missile strike, describing it as a violation of international law and a way of supporting the terrorists.

Qassemi said in a statement on Friday Iran strongly condemns any unilateral military intervention, adding that the US air strike will only “strengthen the dying terrorist groups and complicate the situation in Syria and the region.”

“The Islamic Republic, as the biggest victim of chemical weapons in modern history, condemns any application of such weapons, regardless of the perpetrators and victims,” Qassemi added, referring to the chemical weapons attacks on Iran during its decade-long war with Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

The spokesman said the U.S.’s use of the chemical attack as a “pretext for unilateral action is "dangerous, destructive and a violation of peremptory principles of international laws.”

Greece too issued a statement on Friday rejecting the U.S. military's intervention. 

“Greece is strongly against any military intervention in Syria,” a source in the Greek National Defense Ministry source told Sputnik, adding that such action will hamper dialogue and peace in Syria.

Most countries however supported the U.S. measure.

"The Americans believe they've exhausted all possible diplomatic and peaceful ways of dealing with the use by the regime of chemical weapons and they have been determined to try to prevent future attacks like this so they've taken this action today," British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told the BBC on Friday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande issued a joint statement justifying the U.S. air strike.

"President Assad alone bears the responsibility for this development. His repeated use of chemical weapons and his crimes against his own people demand sanctions which France and Germany already asked for in the summer of 2013 after the massacre at Ghouta," the statement said.

Australia was one of the first countries to voice support for the overnight attack. "The Australian government strongly supports the swift and just response of the United States," Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Friday.

"This was a calibrated, proportionate and targeted response. It sends a strong message to the Assad regime."

Poland was equally supportive, calling the United States a guarantor of world peace.

"The United States for sure are a guarantor of world peace and order. And there are situations when you need to react, situations when you need to take actual action," Poland government spokesman Rafal Bochenek told state television TVP Info.

China was somewhat circumspect in its response.

"What is urgent now is to avoid further deterioration of the situation," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said during a regular press briefing on Friday.

"We oppose use of chemical weapons by any country, organisation or individual in any circumstance, for any purpose."

Source: Big News Network News Agency

Related story - Trump takes matters into own hands, launches military attack on Syria

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