Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says the recent tripartite Western missile attack on the Arab country was a blatant act of aggression against a sovereign state and a sheer violation of the international law, a day after the armed forces of the United States, Britain and France hit different localities in Syria with a barrage of cruise missiles.
The Syrian president made the remarks during a meeting with a delegation representing the United Russia, the ruling political party of the Russian Federation, in the capital Damascus on Sunday, adding that the aerial aggression was accompanied with a campaign of misdirection and lies at the UN Security Council against Syria and Russia, Syria’s close ally in the fight against foreign-backed militancy in the country.
The strikes, conducted during the early hours of Saturday, hit three sites, one in Damascus, and two in the city of Homs, which US President Donald Trump claimed were “associated with the chemical weapon capabilities” of the Syrian government.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, Syrian air defense units were scrambled to thwart the aerial invasion, intercepting 71 out of 105 cruise missiles. However, the Pentagon said all the missiles successfully hit their designated targets.
The tripartite Western countries announced that strikes were carried out as a punitive measure against Damascus for a suspected poison gas attack they claimed was purportedly conducted on April 7 by the Syrian government on Douma, the largest town in Eastern Ghouta near the Syrian capital, which reportedly killed 60 people and injured hundreds more.
However, Damascus strongly rejected the accusations as “chemical fabrications” made by the terrorists themselves in a bid to halt recent advances by pro-government forces against terrorists.
The US president’s “Mission Accomplished” statement after the Syria strikes sparks questions as to what the actual mission was.
Washington, which is apparently looking for a pretext to justify the missile attack, claims that Moscow has failed to abide by a 2013 promise to ensure that Syria gets rid of its chemical weapons stockpiles.
However, Damascus says it has already discarded all of its chemical munitions. Back in 2014, Syria surrendered its stockpiles of chemical weapons to a joint mission led by the US and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry. Furthermore, Damascus has consistently denied using chemical weapons over the past years of conflict in the country.
The Pentagon has so far failed to provide any immediate evidence that the bombarded sites were producing substances covered by the 2013 agreement between Moscow and Washington to eliminate Syria’s chemical arms.
Elsewhere in his remarks, President Assad stressed the need to implement executive mechanisms to improve economic cooperation between Damascus and Moscow, particularly in the field of reconstruction in Syria. He also put emphasis on the importance of the existing parliamentary cooperation between the two sides in international circles.
Here is a roundup of international reactions to the recent joint airstrikes by the US, Britain and France on Syria.
For its part, the Russian delegation, led by Deputy Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Andrei Turchak, said the strikes were in a clear violation of international accords, and that the aerial aggression came at a time when the Syrians were working to restore stability and rebuild what was destroyed by terrorism.
“Yesterday we saw American aggression. And we were able to repel it with Soviet missiles from the 70s,” Russian lawmaker, Dmitry Sablin, quoted President Assad as saying, TASS reported.
The Russian lawmakers also affirmed that Moscow would remain firm in its support for the Syrian nation in the face of foreign-backed militancy, expressing their respective country’s desire to bolster cooperation with Syria in economy and reconstruction.
The illegal air raids also sparked a wave of condemnations from a number of countries, including Iran, Russia and Iraq.
The US-led military coalition, which has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be terrorists’ targets inside the Arab country since September 2014, has no authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.