US threatens more pressure on Syria after missile strikes
- Author: Salvatore Jensen Apr 09, 2017,
Apr 09, 2017, 9:07
The night after the USA military launched missiles into a Syrian air base, protests brewed across the country.
The US military fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at the al-Shayrat airbase in Homs province in western Syrian.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it was unclear if the strike on the rebel-held town in northwest Syria's Idlib province was carried out by Syrian planes or those of government ally Russian Federation. Syria denies it carried out the attack.
They catapulted Washington into confrontation with Russian Federation, which has advisers on the ground aiding its close ally Assad.
"We strongly condemn the illegitimate actions by the US.
The consequences of this for regional and worldwide stability could be extremely serious", Russia's deputy UN envoy, Vladimir Safronkov, told a meeting of the UN Security Council on Friday.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev charged that the U.S. strikes were one step away from clashing with Russia's military.
USA officials informed Russian forces ahead of the missile strikes and avoided hitting Russian personnel. Satellite imagery suggests the base that was attacked houses Russian special forces and helicopters, part of Kremlin efforts to help Assad fight Islamic State and other militant groups.
US President Donald Trump ordered the missile strike after watching television images of infants suffering from chemical weapons injuries.
U.S. jets frequently attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters in Syria and come close to Russian forces.
A statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry read: "The very presence of United States troops and other countries on the territory of Syria, without the consent of the Government or the decision of the UN Security Council is a gross, obvious and unwarranted violation of worldwide law".
"But the action taken last night needs to be followed by a broader strategy to end Syria's civil war and to eliminate the IS strongholds on both sides of the border so I hope this administration will move forward in a way that is both strategic and consistent with our values". "The United States will not stand by when chemical weapons are used".
Iran, which supports Assad and has been criticized by Trump, condemned the strike, with President Hassan Rouhani saying it would bring "only destruction and danger to the region and the globe".
The attack drew widespread support from American allies, and condemnation from the Syrians and their allies.
The United States is now likely to be more aggressive in pursuing intelligence about Syria's suspected chemical weapons program.
On Friday, senior United States military officials were looking more closely at possible Russian involvement in the poison attack.
The move was welcomed by the Syrian opposition and its main backers, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, but harshly condemned by Russian Federation and Iran, who back Assad and said striking his forces would complicate the struggle against extremist groups.
The British government has meanwhile said it "fully supports" the U.S. in carrying out the air strike, describing the cruise missile strikes launched from USA ships in the Mediterranean as a "warning shot" that was "necessary and appropriate". The base's runway was still in use.
Trump has signed an executive order to temporarily ban immigrants from Syria, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya from entering the USA, but a federal judge has blocked part of such order. The strike came as a response to the chemical attack in Idlib on April 4 and targeted what Washington claims was a starting location for the attack.
Under the memorandum, signed after Russian Federation launched an air campaign in Syria in September 2015, Russian Federation and the U.S. had exchanged information about their flights to avoid incidents in the crowded skies over Syria - where Russian Federation has several dozen warplanes and batteries of air-defence missiles. There was no independent confirmation of civilian casualties.
The UN Security Council had been negotiating a resolution, proposed by the United States, France and Britain on Tuesday, to condemn the gas attack and push the Syrian government to cooperate with global investigators.
Tillerson is slated to travel to Moscow next week for meetings with Russian officials.
More than 320,000 people have been killed in Syria since its conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government demonstrations.
"There can be a shared commitment to defeat ISIS and also agree that you can't gas your own people".
"If before it was due to the task of combating terrorism, now there is a clear act of aggression against a sovereign Syria".