The UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged restraint to avoid any escalation of the situation in Syria, after the United States responded militarily to an alleged chemical weapons attack earlier this week.
“I continue to follow the situation in Syria closely and with grave concern,” Mr. Guterres said Friday in a statement.
According to the U.S., the launch of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles into the Shayrat Airbase was a response to what it states was the Syrian Government’s use of chemical weapons from the base. The alleged 4 April chemical weapons attack killed many civilians in the Khan Shaykhun area of Idlib, the UN statement said.
Decrying the ‘abhorrent’ chemical weapons attack, the UN chief stressed the need for accountability for such crimes in line with existing international norms and Security Council resolutions.
Meanwhile, the Security Council convened an urgent session to hear an update on the situation in Syria.
The United States fired Tomahawk missiles into Syria on Thursday in retaliation for the regime of Bashar Assad using nerve agents to attack his own people.
President Donald Trump ordered the attack on Al-Shayrat Air Base, the base from which the chemical attack on Syria’s Idlib province was launched. The missiles were launched from U.S. Navy ships in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.
According to a Defense Department statement, the attack is in retaliation for the Syrian dictator for using banned chemical agents in the April 4 attack.
— U.S. Dept of Defense (@DeptofDefense) April 7, 2017
“Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians,” Trump said in a statement to the nation. “Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.”
Trump ordered the targeted military strike on the airfield that launched the attack. “It is in the vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons,” the president said.
No one disputes that Syria used banned chemical weapons of the people of Idlib, he said, adding that this is a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Syria also ignored United Nations Security Council resolutions.
“Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically,” Trump said. “As a result, the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its allies.”
Trump called on all civilized nations to join the United States in seeking an end to the slaughter in Syria, and to end the threat terrorism poses in the blighted nation.
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