Syrian official denounces Qatar’s ‘shameful’ stance on strikes



Sat, 14 Apr 2018 - 12:41 GMT


Sat, 14 Apr 2018 - 12:41 GMT

FILE: Smoke rises after a U.S.-led air strike in the Syrian town of Kobani Ocotber 10, 2014. Reuters

FILE: Smoke rises after a U.S.-led air strike in the Syrian town of Kobani Ocotber 10, 2014. Reuters

CAIRO – 14 April 2018: An official source at the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates condemned the Qatari stance concerning the air strikes on Syria, accusing Qatar of indirectly backing the attack.

According to media reports, the source described Qatar’s role in the strikes as “shameful” allowing the American jets to launch from Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar, the source added, according to media reports.

Al-Udeid Air Base is a military base southwest of Doha, Qatar, that houses the Qatari Air Force, the U.S. Air Force, the Royal Air Force, and other Gulf War Coalition personnel and assets. The U.S. had been using Al-Udeid to support its military operations in Middle Eastern countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Qatari government announced supporting a joint missile strike on Syria, which took place Saturday morning, demanding to “disarm the regime of internationally prohibited weapons.”

“Qatar expresses its support to the U.S., British, and British military operations on specific military targets, which the Syrian regime uses to attack innocent civilians,” the Qatari Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“The continuous use of chemical and random weapons by the Syrian regime against civilians regardless of the humanitarian and legal consequences of these crimes demands that the international community take immediate measures to protect the Syrian people and disarm the regime of internationally prohibited arms,” the statement read.

U.S., British and French forces hit Syria with air strikes early Saturday in a coordinated intervention by Western powers against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in response to a suspected poison gas attack that killed dozens of people last week.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a scientific research center and military bases in Damascus were struck in the attack. The military targets included the Syrian army's Republican Guard, Mezzeh Military Airport and the fourth military division.

“The Foreign Ministry holds the regime fully accountable for the horrible crimes it committed using chemical weapons against civilians in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, and for other war crimes against humanity, which caused the deaths of children, women, and civilians along the past years.”

The Qatari Foreign Ministry called on the Security Council to act in accordance with its mission to “stop the crimes of the [Syrian] regime and bring the perpetrators to international justice.”

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, over charges including funding terrorist organizations, interfering in other Arab countries’ internal affairs and destabilizing the security of the Arab world.

Earlier on Saturday, a Turkish Foreign Ministry source described the air strikes against the Syrian government as an "appropriate" response.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement, "We welcome this operation which has eased humanity's conscience in the face of the attack in Douma, largely suspected to have been carried out by the regime."

The intervention was the biggest strike by Western powers against the Syrian president in the country’s seven-year-old civil war which pitted the United States and its allies against Russia who had intervened in the war in 2015 to back Assad.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been in a strong disagreement with the U.S. over Syria, condemned the overnight U.S.-led missile attack on Syria and called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, the Kremlin said on Saturday.

Putin said that the U.S.’ actions in Syria made the humanitarian catastrophe worse and caused pain for civilians, in addition to damaging international relations. Trump earlier said Russia failed to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons as it promised in 2013.

On April 4, 2017, a sarin gas attack reportedly killed over 70 people including civilians in the town of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib province, and injured hundreds more. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons blamed the Syrian government for the attack, and outlined its evidence attained through an investigation that was carried out in a subsequent report.

The United States, United Kingdom, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France, and Israel also blamed the Assad regime for Khan Shaykhun’s attack. In contrast, the Russian Defense Ministry argued that the Syrian aircraft had strikes hit a warehouse that belonged to rebels which "may have contained a rebel chemical arms stockpile."

Three days later, the U.S. launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from two U.S. Navy warships in the Mediterranean Sea into Syria, which targeted the Shayrat Airbase controlled by the Syrian government.

Additional reporting by Joseph Colonna



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