US, allies liable for fallout: Iran

NO DOUBT::An Israeli official and Turkey expressed their support for the attacks, with Ankara calling them an ‘appropriate response’ that has ‘eased humanity’s conscience’

Reuters, DUBAI

Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - Page 4

The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned the US-led attacks on Syria and said Washington and its allies would bear responsibility for the consequences in the region and beyond, state media said.

“Undoubtedly, the United States and its allies, which took military action against Syria despite the absence of any proven evidence ... will assume the responsibility for the regional and trans-regional consequences of this adventurism,” the ministry said in a statement carried by state media.

“Iran is opposed to the use of chemical weapons on the basis of religious, legal and ethical standards, while at the same time it ... strongly condemns [using this] as an excuse to commit aggression against a sovereign state,” it added.

“The attack this morning against Syria is a crime,” Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Khamenei said in remarks published on his Telegram channel. “The American president, the French president and the British prime minister are criminals.”

Iran has been Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s most supportive ally against insurgents throughout the conflict. Iran-backed militias first helped his army stem rebel advances and, following Russia’s entry into the war in 2015, turn the tide decisively in Assad’s favor.

Analyst Hossein Sheikholeslam, a former Iranian ambassador to Damascus, told state television the attacks would help unite Syrians behind the government.

“These attacks will stabilize the Syrian government... and unite the different tribes in Syria as Syrians become aware of their honor and come to the defense of the independence, territorial integrity and the government of their country,” Sheikholeslam said.

Meanwhile, an Israeli official said that the strikes are justified, because of the “murderous actions” of the Damascus government.

“Last year, [US] President Donald Trump said that the use of chemical weapons would violate a red line. This night, under America’s guidance, the United States, France and Britain acted accordingly, [because] Syria continues to carry out its murderous actions,” said the official who declined to be identified.

“Syria also serves as a base to carry out such action, namely on behalf of Iran, endangering its territory, its forces and its leadership,” the official added.

Public radio said that Israel had been informed of the strikes ahead of time.

Turkey also welcomed the strikes as an “appropriate response” in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack that left dozens dead.

“We welcome this operation which has eased humanity’s conscience in the face of the attack in Douma, largely suspected to have been carried out by the regime,” the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Ankara said the attacks with weapons of mass destruction — including chemical weapons — that indiscriminately target civilians “constitute crimes against humanity” and should not go unpunished.

“The Syrian regime, which has been tyrannizing its own people for more than seven years, be it with conventional or chemical weapons, has a proven track record of crimes against humanity and war crimes,” the ministry said. “The conscience of the international community is in no doubt about that.”

Additional reporting by AFP