Russia and Iran called for an urgent “unbiased investigation” into the chemical weapons incident in Syria las week, which led the US to launch a missile attack on a regime ‘s airbase a response.
More than 60 civilians were killed in Syria in a new chemical attack carried out by Assad regime’s air force on the rebel-held Idlib province last week.
In a sharp escalation of the U.S. military role in Syria, two U.S. warships fired dozens of cruise missiles from the eastern Mediterranean Sea at the airbase controlled by Assad regime forces in response to the attack, U.S. officials said.
Fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles were launched from the USS Porter and USS Ross around 8:40 p.m. EDT, striking multiple targets – including the airstrip, aircraft and fuel stations – on the Shayrat Air Base, which the Pentagon says was used to store chemical weapons.
Trump ordered the strikes just a day after he pointed the finger at Assad for this week’s chemical attack.
Russia condemned the strikes, saying Washington’s action would “inflict major damage on US-Russia ties”, according to Russian news agencies.
In addition, Russia said that the latest US attack crossed all red lines threatening to meet any future “aggressions” with force.
“What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines. From now on we will respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well,” the Russian alliance in Syria said.
“We condemn any attack targeting civilians and also condemn what happened in Khan Sheikhoun, even if we are convinced it was a premeditated act by certain countries and organizations to serve as a pretext to attack Syria,” Sunday’s statement added.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif agreed to make the call on Monday while denouncing the US attack on the Syrian airbase as “an act of aggression against a sovereign nation”.
A spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry told the country’s state news agency Tass that the country’s chief diplomat spoke with his Iranian opposite number on the phone on Monday.
He said: “Lavrov and Zarif called for carrying out a thorough and unbiased investigation into the incident in the Syrian province of Idlib that has led to numerous deaths among the civilian population.
“(They) discussed the situation in Syria after the US launched a missile strike on the airbase in that country.”
He added: “Both sides emphasized that such aggressive actions against a sovereign independent country are a flagrant violation of international law, above all, the UN Charter, create threats for regional security and impair the fight against international terrorism.”
The two ministers agreed to maintain close contacts “with a view to further coordinating cooperation on the pressing bilateral and international issues.”
On Sunday, Russian president Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone with the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani. According to a Kremlin summary of the call, the two leaders noted: “The aggressive US actions against a sovereign state, which violate international law, are unacceptable.”
Slamming Russia for backing Assad
On the other hand, the Foreign ministers of the G7 group were looking to put pressure on Russia to break its ties with Bashar al-Assad.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urged Putin to abandon Assad, amid evidence that the Syrian president had used chemical weapons.
“Vladimir Putin is “toxifying the image of Russia” by backing Bashar al-Assad and the G7 must consider fresh sanctions against Russia and Syria in response to last week’s chemical attack on civilians,” Boris Johnson has said.
“I think the Russians need a way out and a way forward,” Johnson told the BBC in Italy. “If you think about the position of Vladimir Putin now, he’s toxifying the reputation of Russia by his continuing association with a government which has flagrantly poisoned its own people”.
He called on Moscow to do “everything possible to bring about a political settlement in Syria and work with the rest of the international community to ensure that the shocking events of the last week are never repeated”.
The French foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, made the same linkage on the sidelines of the summit, saying “the fight against terrorism cannot be effective if we do not link it to resolving the Syrian situation”.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has strongly criticized Russia for failing to prevent Syria from carrying out the chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun last Wednesday that left 89 people dead.
But also said there had been “no change to our military posture” in Syria following a retaliatory US strike against a Syrian airbase, and that Washington’s “first priority” in Syria was to defeat so-called Islamic State (ISIS).
The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes.