Syria's allies say airstrikes undermine resolution

Published on Sunday, 15 April 2018 20:18
Written by The Associated Press

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) - The leaders of Russia, Iran and the Hezbollah group in Lebanon said Sunday that Western airstrikes on their ally, Syria, have complicated prospects for a political settlement to the country’s seven-year conflict.

A day after the U.S., Britain and France bombarded sites they said were linked to a chemical weapons program, Syrian President Bashar Assad appeared briefly on state TV, seemingly unfazed by the military action - and even reportedly in high spirits.

Assad told a group of visiting Russian lawmakers that the strikes were accompanied by a campaign of “lies and misinformation” against Syria and Russia in the U.N. Security Council.

Moscow and Damascus are waging the same “battles” against terrorism and “to protect international law based on respect of the sovereignty of countries and the wills of people,” Assad said in comments carried by state media, an apparent jab at the three Western allies.

Russian lawmaker Dmitry Sablin, who met with Assad, said he appeared upbeat and believed the airstrikes would unify the country.

Russia and Iran have called the action a “military crime” and “act of aggression.” The U.N. Security Council rejected a Russian resolution calling for condemnation of the “aggression” by the U.S., France and Britain.

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and they agreed the Western airstrikes were an “illegal action ... adversely impacting prospects for political settlement in Syria,” a Kremlin statement said.

Putin said the actions violated the U.N. Charter and if they continue, “it will inevitably entail chaos in international relations,” the statement said.

The official IRNA news agency quoted Rouhani as saying The U.S. and “some Western countries do not want Syria to reach permanent stability.”

Iran and Russia should not allow the “fire of a new tension” to flare up in the region, Rouhani said, adding that the airstrikes were an “invasion” aimed at “emboldening defeated terrorists,” IRNA reported.



Posted in The Bristol Press, on Sunday, 15 April 2018 20:18. Updated: Sunday, 15 April 2018 20:20.