Syria, Iran and Hezbollah slam ‘barbaric’ strikes on chemical sites
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Syria, Iran and Hezbollah slam ‘barbaric’ strikes on chemical sites

Khamenei denounces Trump, Macron and May as 'criminals' after early morning joint strike

In this January 2, 2018 file photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in a meeting, in Tehran, Iran. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP, File)
In this January 2, 2018 file photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in a meeting, in Tehran, Iran. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP, File)

Syria was joined Saturday by its allies Iran and the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah in condemning the joint US, French and British strikes on Damascus’ chemical weapons facilities.

Syria’s government on Saturday denounced Western strikes on its military installations as a “brutal, barbaric aggression” that violated international law.

The US, France, and Britain launched a volley of strikes Saturday morning on positions around the capital Damascus and the central city of Homs.

“The Syrian Arab Republic condemns in the strongest terms the brutal American-British-French aggression against Syria, which constitutes a flagrant violation of international law,” the foreign ministry said.

Hezbollah, an ally of the Syrian regime, sharply condemned the strikes, saying they would not achieve their objectives.

“America’s war against Syria, and against the region’s peoples and resistance movement, will not achieve its aims,” the group said in a statement published on its War Media Channel.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denounced US President Donald Trump, France’s Emmanuel Macron and Britain’s Theresa May after they launched strikes Saturday against the Syrian regime, branding them “criminals.”

“The attack this morning against Syria is a crime,” Khamenei said in remarks published on his Telegram channel. “The American president, the French president and the British prime minister are criminals.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned the attack would lead to destruction in the Middle East, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

“Such attacks will have no result but more destruction … the Americans want to justify their presence in the region by such attacks,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by Tasnim in remarks translated by the Reuters.

Missiles streak across the Damascus skyline as the US launches an attack on Syria targeting different parts of the capital, early Saturday, April 14, 2018 (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

The joint operation came one week after a suspected chemical attack on an opposition-controlled town outside Damascus left more than 40 people dead.

Western powers blamed President Bashar Assad, but Syria and its ally Russia categorically denied the claims and accused the West of “fabricating” the incident to justify military action.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was set to begin its investigation inside the Eastern Ghouta town of Douma on Saturday, just hours after the strikes.

Syria’s foreign ministry said the strikes aimed to block their work.

“The timing of the aggression coincides with the arrival of the OPCW mission to Syria to investigate the alleged chemical attack in Douma, and mainly aims at hindering the mission’s work and preempting its results,” it said in comments carried by state news agency SANA.

The ministry said it was an “attempt to block the exposure of their lies and fabrications.”

It said the United States, Britain and France launched around 110 missiles on Syria, but air defenses shot most of them down.

Three civilians were wounded in the Homs attacks, the ministry said, but it did not give a toll for Damascus or mention any combatant casualties.

Several missiles hit a research center in Barzeh, north of Damascus, “destroying a building that included scientific labs and a training center,” SANA reported.

State media published images of a cloud of reddish smoke hanging over the capital and said that air defenses were activated to block the attack.

But it said skies were clear over Aleppo in the north, Hasakeh in the northeast, and Latakia and Tartus along the western coast, where key Syrian and Russian military installations are located.

TOI Staff contributed to this report

 

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