World leaders praise US attack on Syria, while Assad allies fume

World leaders praise US attack on Syria, while Assad allies fume
© Getty Images

The United States' decision to carry out a missile strike on a Syrian military airfield was widely applauded by world leaders and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad on Friday, while allies of the authoritarian leader sharply condemned the attack.

Leaders across Western Europe, as well as anti-terrorist allies Saudi Arabia and Turkey, welcomed the attack as an effective means of retaliation for the Assad administration's alleged role in a chemical attack in northern Syria on Tuesday that killed scores of civilians, according to The New York Times. 

"The U.K. government fully supports the U.S. action, which we believe was an appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack launched by the Syrian regime, and is intended to deter further attacks," United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa MayTheresa Mary MayPence to travel to United Kingdom, Ireland and Iceland in September Pelosi vows no UK free trade deal if Brexit undermines Good Friday accord Huawei beefs up lobbying amid Trump crackdown MORE's office said in a statement.

In a joint statement, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Assad himself brought on the U.S. attack on the airbase and "carries responsibility for these developments."

ADVERTISEMENT

Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, one of the European Union's governing bodies, vowed to work with the U.S. to end "brutality" in Syria and blasted the Assad administration's alleged chemical strikes as "barbaric."

"US strikes show needed resolve against barbaric chemical attacks. EU will work with the US to end brutality in Syria," Tusk wrote on Twitter.

US strikes show needed resolve against barbaric chemical attacks. EU will work with the US to end brutality in Syria.

— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) April 7, 2017

The attack was also hailed by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, who are both firmly opposed to Assad and support Syrian rebels in the country in their ongoing civil war, which has so far lasted six years.

But Russia, one of Assad's fiercest allies in the conflict, condemned the U.S. attack as an "aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law."

"Washington's move deals a significant blow to the Russia-U.S. relations, which are already in a deplorable shape," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. 

While the U.S. warned Russia before it launched the strike, the move could further complicate relations with Moscow and potentially derail proposed cooperation in the fight against Islamic State militants in Syria, Viktor Ozerov, the chairman of the defense committee in the Federation Council, said. 

"The U.S. rocket strike could tank the effort to combat terrorism in Syria," he said.
 
Likewise, the U.S. attack was received bitterly in Syria, where Assad's office called it "reckless, irresponsible behavior," according to The Associated Press. The strike was also condemned by Iran, another Assad ally.