|The News Line: Feature
Tuesday, 11 April 2017
Murderous US airstrike on Shayrat air base crossed red lines – says Iran
THE MURDEROUS US strike on the Shayrat Syrian air base last Friday crossed ‘red lines’ and any new aggression will be met by a powerful response, a joint command centre of forces of Russia, Iran and militias supporting Syrian President Bashar al Assad declared on Sunday.
‘What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines,’ said the statement published by the group on media outlet Ilam al Harbi (War Media). 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.’
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani said in a phone call that aggressive US actions against Syria were not permissible and violated international law, the Kremlin said on Sunday. The two leaders also called for an objective investigation into an incident involving chemical weapons in Syria’s Idlib and said they were ready to deepen cooperation to fight terrorism, the Kremlin said in a statement on its website.
The joint command centre also said the presence of US troops in northern Syria is ‘illegal’ and is part of Washington’s long-term plan to occupy the area. The regional alliance said the US cruise missile strikes on the Syrian base had killed dozens of civilians but would not deter their forces from ‘liberating all of Syrian territory’.
In a statement issued last Friday afternoon, Hezbollah condemned the flagrant US aggression against Syrian sovereignty by targeting the military airport of Shayrat. The party painted the recent crime as an ‘insistence by the US administration to further its continuous aggressive path against our Umma, serving the Zionist ambitions in the region.’
Hezbollah considered that such sinful aggressions can never affect the morale of the heroic Syrian army which has been achieving successive victories against the terrorists who are supported by the US administration and its agents in the various Syrian cities. Moreover, such aggressions can never have any negative effect on the axis of resistance which supports the state in Syria in its war against the terrorist groups.’
Hezbollah added that the ‘stupid’ move carried out by Trump’s administration would usher a major and serious tension in the region and complicate the situation in the whole world. The US launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian military airfield in Ash Shayrat near Homs last Thursday.
In Russia, the Kremlin’s press service said that President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani have stressed the importance of continuing their close cooperation on a political and diplomatic settlement of the Syrian crisis, during a phone conversation.
The two leaders also expressed their readiness to deepen cooperation in the fight against terrorism to ensure stability in the Middle East. On the initiative of the Iranian party a phone conversation between Vladimir Putin and President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, was held.
‘The Leaders noted the importance to continue close cooperation on political and diplomatic settlement of the armed conflict in Syria,’ the press service’s statement read. Particular importance was paid to the key aspects of the bilateral cooperation in the sphere of counter-terrorism, a readiness to deepen cooperation in order to ensure stability in the Middle East was expressed,’ the statement said.
‘The presidents exchanged their views of the situation in Syria. Both parties pointed out the inadmissibility of US aggressive actions against the sovereign state in violation of the international law. Putin and Rouhani called for holding an objective, impartial investigation of all circumstances of the incident involving chemical weapons in the Syrian province of Idlib on April 4th,’ the statement read.
The Syrian foreign minister has denied that the government had any involvement in the Idlib incident last Tuesday, saying it had never, nor would it ever, use chemical weapons on either civilians or terrorists operating in the country.
The Russian Defence Ministry said last Wednesday that the airstrike near Khan Shaykhun by the Syrian air force had hit an ISIS terrorist warehouse that stored chemical weapons slated for delivery to Iraq, and called on the UN Security Council to launch a proper investigation into the incident.
Putin said last Thursday that groundless accusations in the chemical weapons incident in Syria’s Idlib were unacceptable before the investigation into the matter had been carried out, while Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov last Saturday criticised the US missile attack as a violation of the international law.
A senior military source in the alliance fighting in support of President Bashar al-Assad said the airbase had been mostly evacuated thanks to a warning from Russia, which has deployed its military to Syria in support of Assad. The senior military source, a non-Syrian, said only a few out-of-service jets were destroyed.
The United States had warned Russia ahead of the attack. The chairman of Russia’s Lower House, Vyacheslav Volodin, said that the United States would reap undesirable consequences if it takes on the role of world policeman, though Russia would prefer not to see this happen.
‘The role of world gendarme, especially one that acts while ignoring international laws, is fraught with ominous consequences,’ Vyacheslav Volodin said last Friday, soon after the media reported that the US had launched the massive missile strike on the Syrian military’s Shayrat air base.
Two US ships launched 59 cruise missiles at the base.
According to the Russian Defence Ministry, 23 hit their targets, destroying a material storage depot, a training facility, a canteen, six MiG-23 aircraft in repair hangars, and a radar
The Russian State Duma speaker said that the US missile strike had attacked a sovereign state and United Nations member using ‘an absolutely fictitious excuse,’ noting ‘we all remember exactly how the same excuse was used to start airstrikes and other military action against Iraq.’
‘The country is no more; people are in misery; shells are exploding there to this day. Eventually they discovered that there were no chemical weapons there and said that there had been a mistake, but this mistake has cost tens and hundreds of thousands of lives, as well as the existence of a whole state,’ the Duma chief stated.
‘The same can happen in Syria and we must do everything to prevent this scenario from coming to life, especially, I would like to emphasise this again, because the missile strike was delivered on a completely invented excuse,’ he added.
On Friday afternoon, Russia’s Lower House passed an address on to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in which it slammed the US missile raid on the Shayrat airbase as a blatant violation of international law, while demanding that nations abstain from using military force or threatening to use it and refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign countries.
In their address, the Russian MPs pointed out that the chemical weapons incident in Syria’s Idlib province, which the US cited as justification for its missile assault, could have been instigated by those who want to see Syrian President Bashar Assad overthrown, as the Obama administration had.
They also noted that the missile strike has worked to advantage of the Islamic State terrorist group, whose fighters can now regroup and rest with less risk from Syrian airstrikes.
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