Punishing al-Assad: US, UK & France Strike Syria for Chemical Weapons Use

Written by | Monday, April 16th, 2018

The United Kingdom, the United States and France launched airstrikes on Syria in response to the latest chemical attack near the capital, Damascus that reportedly killed at least 43 civilians and injured hundreds more. Despite some trans-Atlantic tensions, the three allies closely coordinated the retaliatory action underscoring an alignment between both sides of the Atlantic despite divisions over other issues.

The airstrikes were targeted at the Syrian regime’s chemical-weapons arsenal – a research center and two production sites. The other strikes also targeted a former missile base 15 miles west of the Syrian city of Homs. The assault capped a week of coordination and planning between the US, French and British militaries. Donald Trump praised the US’s allies in his tweet: “Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result.”

The EU condemned the repeated use of chemical weapons in Syria and supported the airstrikes on chemical weapons facilities. The EU reiterated that these actions had been taken with the sole objective to prevent further use of chemical substances as a means of the Syrian regime to kill its own people. Federica Mogherini, chief of European diplomacy, stressed that it was deeply shocking that the international community is still confronted with the use of chemical weapons. In her declaration, she said that “accountability is a must. The use of chemical weapons or chemical substances as weapons is a war crime and a crime against humanity. Perpetrators will be held accountable for this violation of international law.”

NATO Secretary General also supported the strikes and said there was no practical alternative in response to the use of chemical weapons. “We have to uphold and support the ban on chemical weapons, and not erode it,” Mr. Stoltenberg said and added that “that is exactly why allies condemn any use of chemical weapons and that is why all NATO allies support the actions taken by key allies.”

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