Saturday, 20 October, 2018

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation supports US-led strikes in Syria, UN calls for restraint

Bashar al Assad has depended on support from Russia Bashar al Assad has depended on support from Russian president Vladimir Putin
Melinda Barton | 15 April, 2018, 00:59

It fears Iran could use Syrian territory to stage attacks or form a land corridor from Iran to Lebanon that could allow it to transfer weapons more easily to Hezbollah - Lebanon's Iranian-backed political party and militant group sworn to Israel's destruction.

Public radio said that Israel had been informed ahead of time of the strikes that were carried out by the United States, France and Britain.

The Syrian government has denied using chemical weapons against enemy forces. "If they give excuses to Iran, Tel Aviv and Haifa will be destroyed", cleric Ali Shirazi said on Thursday according to the semi-official Fars news agency. It was the basis for France's involvement in a joint military operation launched Saturday with the US and Britain to target Syrian chemical weapons facilities.

It also repeats the claims made by Russian officials that a majority of the missiles launched by the U.S. had been intercepted.

Tensions on Israel's northern border have been rising in recent months as Israel fears that Iran is entrenching itself deeper into war-torn Syria with its presence on Israel's borders growing in strength. He criticized the USA and its allies for launching the strike without waiting for inspectors from the global chemical weapons watchdog to visit the area.

"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.

The Israeli strike and the Russian response came only a few days after a Russian-Iranian-Turkish summit, in which the three countries discussed joint plans to end the Syrian civil war in a mutually acceptable way while cutting the US out of any influence in the process.

May authorized the strikes without a vote from Parliament, which has been in recess.

The French presidency issued a video on Twitter showing what it said were Rafale warplanes taking off as part of the intervention. She had received support from her Cabinet in a crisis session.

Iran on Saturday strongly condemned a joint airstrike by the U.S., Britain and France against Syrian regime's chemical sites in the wake of a suspected chemical attack that killed dozens outside the capital Damascus. Syrians crowded onto the streets in noisy demonstrations of defiance afterward and their ally Russian Federation denounced the attack.

It said initial indications were that the precision weapons and meticulous target planning had "resulted in a successful attack".

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis asked all civilised nations to urgently unite in ending the Syrian civil war. Attacking Syria is a crime.