No military solution to Syria crisis: EU
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has rejected a military solution to the Syria crisis following a US missile strike which has escalated tensions in the Middle East.
“As for Syria, it was reaffirmed during the Brussels conference organized last week that there is no military solution to the crisis in Syria,” Mogherini said at a news conference in Algiers on Sunday.
“For this issue, the European Union is very clear and very firm, there is no possibility for a military solution to the crisis,” she added.
Mogherini said the United States is a friend of the EU, adding the bloc hopes the US can agree with the EU on a political solution to the Syrian crisis.
Top aides to Trump on Sunday demurred over where US policy on Syria was headed after the missile strike, leaving open questions about whether toppling Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad was now one of Trump’s goals.
After the attack, Trump administration officials said they were prepared to take further actions if necessary.
Trump’s United Nations ambassador, Nikki Haley, said the United States had “multiple priorities” in Syria and that stability there was impossible with Assad as president.
Her comments appeared at odds with those of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who said the US missile strike was aimed solely at deterring the use of chemical weapons.
“There is no change to our military posture” in Syria, Tillerson said on ABC’s ‘This Week’ program, adding once Daesh was defeated, the US could turn its attention to trying to help bring about a “political process” in Syria.
“It is through that political process that we believe the Syrian people will … be able to decide the fate of Bashar al-Assad,” Tillerson said.
Germans disapprove of US strike
Most Germans believe the US missile attack on al-Shayrat airbase was the wrong thing to do, a poll has found.
The survey, ordered by Bild am Sonntag newspaper and conducted by Emnid-TNS company, found that 59 percent of the people in Germany disapproved of the strike on the Syrian airfield.
According to the poll, only 26 percent approved of the Washington’s decision to fire Tomahawk missiles at the Syrian military site.
The US military launched 59 missiles during the early hours of Friday targeting an airbase in the Syrian province of Homs.
Syria’s official SANA news agency said nine civilians, including four children, were killed and seven people were injured. The attack also killed six Syrian soldiers and left “big material loss” at al-Shayrat airbase.
On President Donald Trump’s order, the US launched the strike on the Syrian airfield, citing an alleged chemical weapons attack in the town of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib province days earlier. Damascus has categorically denied carrying out a chemical attack.
The survey also revealed that 80 percent of the respondents think no more attacks should be made on Syrian territory while only nine percent would welcome further US strikes on the country.
According to the poll, 40 percent of Germans fear the attack can trigger a military conflict between Moscow and Washington, while 53 percent do not think it is a possible outcome.
FM Gabriel concerned
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Sunday expressed concerns over the escalation of tensions between Russia and the US following the military attack.
He also urged international experts to help conduct a probe into the alleged chemical weapons assault.
“It is important that the UN and experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) gain immediate access and can carry out their investigation without hindrance,” Gabriel said in an interview with Bild newspaper.
Russia and Iran have also called for sending professionals to investigate, saying that it is “the only way to receive and present to the whole international community any objective evidence on the alleged presence of poisonous substances.”
According to the Kremlin, Syrian jets struck a terrorist warehouse in Idlib that contained toxic chemicals, leading to a gas leak in the area. More than 80 people were reportedly killed in the incident on April 4.
French far-left presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon on Sunday denounced Trump’s decision to launch missile strikes in Syria as a “criminal, irresponsible act.”
Melenchon said in a campaign speech focusing on international issues that the US missile attack on a Syrian air base was a “huge mistake” that would only increase tensions.
He said he wanted France to pull out of NATO to avoid a confrontation with Russia. Melenchon told a big crowd gathered in Marseille: “If you want peace, do not get the wrong ballot paper.”