U.S. Crossed ‘Red Lines,’ Syria’s Allies Will Increase Their Support to Assad
The Syrian government and its backers vowed to react to any future “aggressions against Syria” in a joint statement, reported Al Jazeera.
A statement released by the Syria-based joint operations room of its key government allies Russia, Iran and Hezbollah said the U.S. attack on Syria overstepped “red lines.”
“We will react firmly to any aggression against Syria and to any infringement of red lines, whoever carries them out,” read the statement, published on the government-affiliated al-Watan newspaper. “The United States knows very well our ability to react.”
On Friday, the U.S. carried out its first direct military action targeting Syrian government forces in a missile attack on Shayrat airbase in Homs, following a suspected chemical weapons attack in rebel-held parts of the country believed to have originated from the base.
“We, as Syria’s allies, will increase our military support toward Syria and support its people in many other ways,” the statement said.
Syrian Government Uses Airbase One Day After Bombing
On Friday, two Syrian warplanes were able to take off from the same airbase bombed by the U.S. the previous day, reported ABC News.
According to the U.K.-based monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the Syrian government quickly repaired the Shayrat airbase in Homs, and two Syrian jets took off to target areas under control of the so-called Islamic State in the eastern Homs countryside.
As many as 20 Syrian aircraft were destroyed in the attack on Thursday, but the runway remained intact and not all jets were destroyed, a U.S. official told ABC.
The U.S. is “prepared to do more,” according to the U.S. envoy to the U.N., Nikki Haley.
“The United States took a very measured step last night. We are prepared to do more, but we hope that will not be necessary,” Haley said, adding that the “moral stain of the Assad regime could no longer go unanswered.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, however, stressed that Washington’s priority in Syria is still targeting ISIS, CNN reported.
Air Raids on Idlib Kills 18 People
At least 18 people, including five children, were killed in airstrikes on the rebel-held Idlib province on Saturday, Reuters reported. The death toll from air raids on the town of Urum al-Joz in Idlib is expected to rise, with the Syrian Civil Defense rescue service reporting a further 22 people injured.
Located in northwestern Syria, Idlib province is controlled by an array of rebels and Islamist groups. Tens of thousands of people displaced from areas formerly controlled by opposition groups across the country have been relocated to Idlib after local “reconciliation” deals with the government.
- The Guardian: Tragedy of a Father Who Lost More Than 20 Family Members in Khan Shaykhoun
- Al Monitor: How These Syrians Went from Opposition Fighters to Pro-Regime Militia Men
- The Telegraph: Sarin: What Is The Deadly Poison Used in the Idlib Attacks?
- Voice of America: Iraqi Cleric Calls for Syria’s Assad to Step Down
- Al Jazeera: Evacuation of Homs’ Al-Waer Enclave Resumes