Saudi Arabia 'fully backs' US air strike on Syrian airbase

Gulf kingdom says Syria only has itself to blame after committing 'odious crimes'
By AFP
Fri 07 Apr 2017 11:21 AM

Saudi Arabia said Friday that it "fully backs" a US air strike on a Syrian government airbase in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town.

"Saudi Arabia fully supports the US military operations against military targets in Syria, which were a response to the regime's use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians," a foreign ministry official told the state SPA news agency.

The official said the regime had only itself to blame after "odious crimes it had committed for years against the Syrian people."

He described US President Donald Trump as "courageous" for taking action when "the international community has failed to put a halt to the regime's actions."

Trump said the strike on the Shayrat airbase with 59 Tomahawk missiles fired from warships in the eastern Mediterranean, was in retaliation for what he said was a "barbaric" chemical attack on a rebel-held town in northwestern Syria by the Damascus regime.

There had been international outrage over Tuesday's suspected attack that killed dozens of civilians but Moscow stood by its Damascus ally and warned of the negative consequences of any military action

As a result, a UN Security Council debate on a Western-drafted resolution that would have sanctioned the Syrian regime was again delayed on Thursday amid Russian insistence that the chemical weapons that caused the deaths had been stockpiled by jihadists on the ground and released by a conventional strike.

Saudi Arabia had been deeply critical of Trump's predecessor Barack Obama's 2013 decision to hold off on military reprisals against the Syrian regime after a previous suspected gas attack and instead strike a deal with Russia for the UN-supervised destruction of its chemical arsenal.

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