The US launched a cruise-missile attack on an airfield and military infrastructure controlled by Syrian President Bashar Assad early Friday morning local time in response to a chemical attack that killed at least 80 people in the Idlib province earlier this week.
US President Donald Trump, who was initially resistant to the idea of becoming involved in Syria, radically changed his stance following the chemical attack and said the strike was “in the vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”
“Tonight I call on all civilized 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,” Trump said Thursday, when the attack took place in Eastern Time.
The Kremlin and the Syrian government, which have worked together during Syria’s civil war, were quick to condemn the attack, with Moscow calling the attack an “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law, and under a false pretext.”
Many other nations, however, have praised the US’s intervention.
Here’s a list of the reactions of those who were in favour and those who condemned the strike:
United Kingdom: Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the UK government gave its full support to the US over the attacks, saying the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in Syria passed a clear red line in international law.
“The American Defence Secretary Jim Mattis consulted me early yesterday evening about our assessment of the regime’s culpability for the chemical weapons attack and we reviewed the need to understand and to deal with any likely Russian reactions to the attack,” Fallon told the BBC.
“He was then reviewing the different options to put before the president, he then called me later on to advise us of the president’s decision and to give us notice of the attack and our prime minister was kept informed throughout,” he said.
Turkey: Turkey welcomed the strike and called for a no-fly zone over Syria and for the creation of safe zones.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said the strike was “a positive response” to the “war crimes” of the regime of Assad and added that the bombing of the Sharyat air base marked “an important step to ensure that chemical and conventional attacks against the civilian population do not go unpunished,” according to AFP.
Israel: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country “fully supports” the “strong and clear message” sent by the US attack and added that the message should “resonate not only in Damascus, but in Tehran, Pyongyang, and elsewhere.”
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also said the strike was an “appropriate response” to the “unthinkable brutality” of the chemical attacks in Syria and that the US “serves as an example to the entire free world” to support steps to end atrocities in Syria.
France and Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel and President François Hollande put out a joint statement on Friday after talking on the phone, saying Assad brought the strikes upon himself by using chemical weapons.
“President Assad alone carries responsibility for these developments” with his “repeated use of chemical weapons and his crimes against his own people,” they said. The two leaders added that their countries would continue to work with UN partners in “efforts to hold President Assad responsible for his criminal acts.”
Australia: Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that the government “strongly supports the swift and just response of the United States” and that the response was “proportionate and targeted,” according to the Associated Press.
Japan: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also supported the missile attack and said Japan understood and supported the US strategy, the AP reports. He said the strikes were “a means to prevent further deterioration of the situation.”
The European Union: The president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said the strikes were needed following the chemical attack. He tweeted: “US strikes show needed resolve against barbaric chemical attacks. EU will work with the US to end brutality in Syria.”
The European Commission’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker, said that the “repeated use of such weapons must be answered” and that he “understands efforts to deter future attacks.” He also said the EU was ready to help find a political solution to the crisis.
Italy: The Italian foreign minister, Angelino Alfano, said in a statement that Italy understood the reasons behind the strikes and called them a “proportionate” deterrent. He also called for a “necessary and urgent” meeting of the UN Security Council, The Guardian reports.
Saudi Arabia: A source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the Saudi Press Agency that Saudi Arabia strongly supported the US strikes in Syria. The source also placed the responsibility for these military operations solely on the Syrian regime.
Syrian rebels: The Syrian opposition welcomed the strikes: “We hope for the continuation of the strikes in order to prevent the regime from using its planes to launch any new air raids or going back to using internationally banned weapons,” Ahmad Ramadan, the head of the media office of the Syrian National Coalition political opposition group, told Reuters.
Hasan Haj Ali, the commander of the Free Idlib Army rebel group, which fights under the Free Syrian Army umbrella, told Reuters the strikes came at a “very important phase” and showed that “there is still humanity in this world.”
Russia: Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday morning that the Russian president saw the attack as an “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law, and under a false pretext,” The Guardian reports.
Peskov also said Syria had no chemical weapons and the strikes “struck a significant blow to Russian-American relations, which were already in a sorry state. Washington’s step will inflict major damage on US-Russia ties.”
Iran: Iran denounced what it called a “destructive and dangerous” strike, according to Reuters. “Iran strongly condemns any such unilateral strikes … Such measures will strengthen terrorists in Syria … and will complicate the situation in Syria and the region,” an Iranian news agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying.
Syrian government: The Syrian president said on Friday that the US strike was “foolish and irresponsible,” according to AFP.
The Syrian army accused the US of “blatant aggression” and said the strike killed six people and caused “big material losses.” The army also said it would respond by continuing to “crush terrorism.”
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