New York: Iran, one of the biggest supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and its hardline paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, has condemned the U.S. military strike on the Syrian Government airbase in response to Tuesday’s chemical weapon attack.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said the “unilateral action is dangerous, destructive and violates the principles of international law”, in a report carried Friday by the semi-official ISNA news agency.
Ghasemi described Iran as “the biggest victim of chemical weapons in recent history”, referencing Iraqi use of the weapons during its 1980s war.
He said Iran condemned the missile launch “regardless of the perpetrators and the victims” of Tuesday’s chemical weapons attack in Syria. He also warned it would “strengthen terrorists” and further add to “the complexity of the situation in Syria and the region”.
China’s Global Times, a nationalist Communist party-controlled tabloid, has published an online editorial criticising Trump’s military strike against Syria.
The newspaper said the attack was likely to spark conflict between the U.S. and Russia and “took place despite no definitive results from the investigation by an international organization, and was carried out in the absence of a UN Security Council resolution.”
“Trump’s decision to attack the Assad government is a show of force from the US president,” it added.
“He wants to prove that he dares to do what Obama dared not. He wants to prove to the world that he is no ‘businessman president’ and that he will use US military force without hesitation when he considers it necessary.”
“This is Trump’s first major move in international affairs, and it leaves an impression that the decision was made in haste.”
“The Syrian civil war is entering a new phase. More refugees will flee the region and Europe may have to pay the price,” it concluded.
The attack has drawn differing reactions across the world with most inclining in favour of Trump’s move.
Nations including the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have supported Trump in his endevaour to put an ‘end to chemical attacks.’
Hours after launching the strike, Trump called on all ‘civilised nations’ to stop the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria. He also asserted that Assad “choked out the lives of innocent men, women and children.”
“Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the chemical weapons convention, and ignored the urging of the UN security council,” he said.
“Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behaviour have all failed and failed very dramatically. As a result the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region continues to destabilise, threatening the United States and its allies. Tonight I call on all civilised nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria, and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types,” he added.
On Trump’s orders, U.S. warships launched between 50-60 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syria Government airbase where the warplanes that carried out the chemical attacks were based, U.S. officials said.
Trump had famously said the chemical attack on Syria’s Idlib province affected his deeply and transformed his thinking about Assad.
Dozens of people, including at least ten children, were killed and over 200 injured as a result of asphyxiation caused by exposure to an unknown gas on Tuesday.
The death toll is said to be at least 67, according to activist al-Diab, while the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has reported it to be 58.
The High Negotiations Committee claimed the death toll could be as high as 100 with up to 400 injured.