Many European leaders and the prime minister of Canada voiced support and understanding for the U.S.-led airstrikes against Syria, but warned against allowing the seven-year conflict to escalate.
Venezuela and China, however, condemned the airstrikes as violating international law.
Here are some reactions:
“As always, we oppose the use of force in international relations and call for respect for other countries’ sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. Any unilateral military action bypassing the Security Council runs contrary to the purpose and principles of the U.N. charter and violates the principles of international law and the basic norms governing international relations, and will further complicate the Syrian issue.” — China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.
“The use of chemical weapon is extremely inhumane and we cannot absolutely tolerate that. Japan supports the determination of the U.S., the U.K. and France not to allow the use and proliferation of chemical weapons.” — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“By continuing to employ chemical weapons against innocent Syrian civilians, the Assad regime has violated international law and abandoned its own commitments to the international community. These strikes are not seeking to escalate the conflict in Syria, but these violations of international law and norms cannot be allowed to continue.” — Australian Defense Minister Marisa Payne.
“It has always been Bulgaria’s position that no cause justifies the killing of innocent people, including children; that the use of chemical weapons is a war crime and the strike on Syrian targets was a response to a war crime.” — Bulgarian government statement. Bulgaria currently holds the rotating EU presidency.
“Strikes by US, France and UK make it clear that Syrian regime together with Russia & Iran cannot continue this human tragedy, at least not without cost. The EU will stand with our allies on the side of justice.” — Tweet by European Council President Donald Tusk.
“Before the attack took place last night, NATO allies exhausted all other possible ways to address this issue to the U.N. Security Council but … were blocked by Russia … I am not saying that the attacks last night solved all problems but compared to the alternative to do nothing, this was the right thing to do.” — NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.
“We support the fact that our U.S., UK and French allies took on responsibility in this way as permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. The military strike was necessary and appropriate in order to preserve the effectiveness of the international ban on the use of chemical weapons and to warn the Syrian regime against further violations.” – German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“What has occurred in Syria in recent days goes far beyond the constant violation of cease fires. The response to these atrocities is legitimate and proportionate.” — Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
“The people who have been martyred by chemicals is a certain number but the people martyred by conventional weapons is much, much more.” — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying more must be done to hold the Syrian regime accountable for the hundreds of thousands it has killed using conventional weapons.
“Greece unreservedly condemns the use of chemical weapons and supports efforts to eliminate them … at the same time, the international community should aim for a political and sustainable solution in Syria that will end the war… (and) allow the return of millions of refugees.”— Greece’s Foreign Ministry.
“This was a limited and targeted action to strike the capacity of building or diffusing chemical arms. It cannot and should not be the start of an escalation.” — Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni.
“The international community has the responsibility to identify and hold accountable those responsible of any attack with chemical weapons. This was not the first time that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons against civilians but it must be the last.” — European Union Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA
“Canada stands with our friends in this necessary response and we condemn in strongest possible terms” the use of chemical weapons in Syria. – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Venezuela’s government said it “energetically condemns” the attack on Syria, calling it a unilateral action that violates Syria’s sovereignty and “the most basic norms of international law.”
“Mexico reiterates its broadest condemnation of the use of chemical weapons.” — Mexican government statement that condemned the use of chemical weapons but did not explicitly approve or disapprove of the military strikes against Syria.