Syria's allies say airstrikes undercut political resolution - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Syria's allies say airstrikes undercut political resolution

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes). Syrian-Americans express their anger at the missile strikes on their homeland during an anti-war rally opposing the military strikes by Western countries in Syria, in downtown Los Angeles, Saturday, April 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes). Syrian-Americans express their anger at the missile strikes on their homeland during an anti-war rally opposing the military strikes by Western countries in Syria, in downtown Los Angeles, Saturday, April 14, 2018.
© (Satellite Image 2018 DigitalGlobe via AP). This satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows the Him Shinshar Chemical Weapons Storage Facility in Syria on Saturday, April 14, 2018, following a U.S.-led allied missile attack. © (Satellite Image 2018 DigitalGlobe via AP). This satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows the Him Shinshar Chemical Weapons Storage Facility in Syria on Saturday, April 14, 2018, following a U.S.-led allied missile attack.
(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes). Syrian-Americans express their anger at the missile strikes on their homeland during an anti-war rally opposing the military strikes by Western countries in Syria, in downtown Los Angeles, Saturday, April 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes). Syrian-Americans express their anger at the missile strikes on their homeland during an anti-war rally opposing the military strikes by Western countries in Syria, in downtown Los Angeles, Saturday, April 14, 2018.
  • Syria's allies say airstrikes undercut political resolutionMore>>

  • US to hit Russia with new sanctions for aiding Syria's Assad

    US to hit Russia with new sanctions for aiding Syria's Assad

    Sunday, April 15 2018 12:38 AM EDT2018-04-15 04:38:05 GMT
    Monday, April 16 2018 2:39 AM EDT2018-04-16 06:39:23 GMT
    (Department of Defense via AP). This image provided by the Department of Defense was presented as part of a briefing slide at the Pentagon briefing on Saturday, April 14, 2018, and shows a photo of a preliminary damage assessment from the Him Shinshar ...(Department of Defense via AP). This image provided by the Department of Defense was presented as part of a briefing slide at the Pentagon briefing on Saturday, April 14, 2018, and shows a photo of a preliminary damage assessment from the Him Shinshar ...

    "A perfectly executed strike," Trump tweeted after U.S., French and British warplanes and ships launched more than 100 missiles nearly unopposed by Syrian air defenses. "Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!"

    More >>

    "A perfectly executed strike," Trump tweeted after U.S., French and British warplanes and ships launched more than 100 missiles nearly unopposed by Syrian air defenses. "Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!"

    More >>
  • The Latest: Spokeswoman says Trump still wants Syria exit

    The Latest: Spokeswoman says Trump still wants Syria exit

    Sunday, April 15 2018 6:17 AM EDT2018-04-15 10:17:47 GMT
    Monday, April 16 2018 1:30 AM EDT2018-04-16 05:30:43 GMT
    (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes). Syrian-Americans express their anger at the missile strikes on their homeland during an anti-war rally opposing the military strikes by Western countries in Syria, in downtown Los Angeles, Saturday, April 14, 2018. On Satu...(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes). Syrian-Americans express their anger at the missile strikes on their homeland during an anti-war rally opposing the military strikes by Western countries in Syria, in downtown Los Angeles, Saturday, April 14, 2018. On Satu...
    A group of Russian politicians has met with Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose mood they describe as good a day after Western airstrikes.More >>
    A group of Russian politicians has met with Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose mood they describe as good a day after Western airstrikes.More >>
  • Thousands protest in Athens against US-led Syria airstrikes

    Thousands protest in Athens against US-led Syria airstrikes

    Sunday, April 15 2018 2:57 AM EDT2018-04-15 06:57:48 GMT
    Sunday, April 15 2018 3:50 AM EDT2018-04-15 07:50:53 GMT
    (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis). Supporters of the Greek Communist party take part in an anti-war rally in front of the parliament, in Athens, Saturday, April 14, 2018. Thousands of supporters of the party marched to the U.S. embassy opposing the military ...(AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis). Supporters of the Greek Communist party take part in an anti-war rally in front of the parliament, in Athens, Saturday, April 14, 2018. Thousands of supporters of the party marched to the U.S. embassy opposing the military ...
    Greek police say about 6,000 people turned up at a rally and march in central Athens organized by Greece's Communist Party to protest the US-led allied missile attack against Syria.More >>
    Greek police say about 6,000 people turned up at a rally and march in central Athens organized by Greece's Communist Party to protest the US-led allied missile attack against Syria.More >>

By BASSEM MROUE and SARAH EL DEEB
Associated Press

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) - The leaders of Russia, Iran and the Hezbollah group in Lebanon said Sunday that Western airstrikes on their ally, Syria, have complicated prospects for a political settlement to the country's seven-year conflict.

A day after the U.S., Britain and France bombarded sites they said were linked to a chemical weapons program, Syrian President Bashar Assad appeared briefly on state TV, seemingly unfazed by the military action - and even reportedly in high spirits.

Assad told a group of visiting Russian lawmakers that the strikes were accompanied by a campaign of "lies and misinformation" against Syria and Russia in the U.N. Security Council.

Moscow and Damascus are waging the same "battles" against terrorism and "to protect international law based on respect of the sovereignty of countries and the wills of people," Assad said in comments carried by state media, an apparent jab at the three Western allies.

Russian lawmaker Dmitry Sablin, who met with Assad, said he appeared upbeat and believed the airstrikes would unify the country.

Russia and Iran have called the action a "military crime" and "act of aggression." The U.N. Security Council rejected a Russian resolution calling for condemnation of the "aggression" by the U.S., France and Britain.

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and they agreed the Western airstrikes were an "illegal action ... adversely impacting prospects for political settlement in Syria," a Kremlin statement said.

Putin said the actions violated the U.N. Charter and if they continue, "it will inevitably entail chaos in international relations," the statement said.

The official IRNA news agency quoted Rouhani as saying The U.S. and "some Western countries do not want Syria to reach permanent stability."

Iran and Russia should not allow the "fire of a new tension" to flare up in the region, Rouhani said, adding that the airstrikes were an "invasion" aimed at "emboldening defeated terrorists," IRNA reported.

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah group that has hundreds of fighters backing Assad's forces, said the airstrikes failed to "terrorize or break the spirits" of Syria and its allies.

Instead, he said, the attack bolstered the confidence of the Syrian army and its allies, as well as probably sinking the already-faltering U.N.-backed peace process on Syria in Geneva.

"If the goal was to pressure Syria to expedite a political solution, I think what happened will complicate the political solution and will strain international relations and the Geneva track, if not torpedo Geneva altogether," Nasrallah told an election rally in Lebanon.

Nasrallah said there is no chemical program in Syria, and he likened the attacks in Syria to the West's concern over Iran's nuclear program.

U.S. Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, said the allied airstrikes "took out the heart" of Assad's chemical weapons arsenal. When pressed, however, he acknowledged that some unspecified portion of Assad's chemical arms infrastructure was not targeted.

Assad denies he has used chemical weapons, and the U.S. has yet to present evidence of what it says led to the allied action: a chlorine gas attack on civilians in Douma on April 7 that killed more than 40 people. The U.S. says it suspects that sarin gas also was used.

A team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is in Syria to investigate the Douma incident and was expected to visit the town. Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad met with members of the watchdog group in their Damascus hotel Sunday.

The government regained full control of Douma on Saturday following a surrender deal with the rebels in the town east of Damascus. It later deployed another 5,000 security forces there.

Russian military police had been deployed in Douma, raising complaints from the Syrian opposition that evidence of chemical weapons use might no longer be found.

Douma was the last rebel holdout in the eastern Ghouta suburbs, the target of a government offensive in February and March that killed hundreds and displaced tens of thousands.

France, meanwhile, has reached out to Russia, urging it to join renewed peace efforts.

In an interview published Sunday in the Journal du Dimanche newspaper, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Moscow "should join our efforts to promote a political process in Syria that would allow a way out of the crisis."

In a televised interview Sunday night, French President Emmanuel Macron said the U.S., France and Britain had "full international legitimacy to intervene" because they had gotten evidence the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people and the airstrikes were enforcing international humanitarian law.

"It was retaliation, not an act of war," Macron said on French TV channel BMF and online investigative site Mediapart. He said the allies acted without a U.N. mandate because of the "constant stalemate of the Russians" in the Security Council.

France has continued to talk regularly with Moscow even as East-West tensions have grown. Macron spoke with Putin on Friday, before the airstrikes.

France and the U.S. say the Geneva process is the only track to pursue a political resolution. Russia has pursued a separate track for political negotiations, hosting talks in Sochi.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told the BBC he hopes there is no need for more strikes in Syria, but that Britain and its allies will consider further action if Assad uses chemical weapons again. He said the airstrikes were proportionate and showed "the world has said enough is enough."

In Germany, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told public broadcaster ARD that he hopes the air strikes will result in a fresh effort to find a peaceful solution to the seven-year conflict. He said European Union foreign ministers will meet Monday to discuss the situation and put forward proposals for steps going forward.

___

Associated Press writers Angela Charlton in Paris and Jim Heintz in Moscow contributed.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • News from SyriaMore>>

  • Syrian rebels give up Damascus area town to government

    Syrian rebels give up Damascus area town to government

    Thursday, April 19 2018 6:32 AM EDT2018-04-19 10:32:27 GMT
    Friday, April 20 2018 4:23 AM EDT2018-04-20 08:23:54 GMT
    (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar). People walk among damaged buildings in the town of Douma, the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack, near Damascus, Syria, Monday, April 16, 2018. Two days after Syrian troops declared Douma liberated from opposition figh...(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar). People walk among damaged buildings in the town of Douma, the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack, near Damascus, Syria, Monday, April 16, 2018. Two days after Syrian troops declared Douma liberated from opposition figh...
    Syrian state media: Hundreds of rebels hand over weapons, start leaving another town northeast of Damascus.More >>
    Syrian state media: Hundreds of rebels hand over weapons, start leaving another town northeast of Damascus.More >>
  • UN team fired on at suspected Syria chemical attack site

    UN team fired on at suspected Syria chemical attack site

    Wednesday, April 18 2018 5:01 AM EDT2018-04-18 09:01:26 GMT
    Thursday, April 19 2018 3:04 AM EDT2018-04-19 07:04:04 GMT
    (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar). A girl shops at a kiosk in Damascus, Syria, Tuesday, April 17, 2018. The Arabic on the right reads, "Regards Assad, God protect you Assad."(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar). A girl shops at a kiosk in Damascus, Syria, Tuesday, April 17, 2018. The Arabic on the right reads, "Regards Assad, God protect you Assad."
    International chemical weapons inspectors do not appear to have visited the site of a suspected attack in Syria after days of delays by Syrian and Russian authorities.More >>
    International chemical weapons inspectors do not appear to have visited the site of a suspected attack in Syria after days of delays by Syrian and Russian authorities.More >>
  • First the chlorine, then chaos and death in Syria attack

    First the chlorine, then chaos and death in Syria attack

    Wednesday, April 18 2018 6:11 AM EDT2018-04-18 10:11:31 GMT
    Thursday, April 19 2018 1:35 AM EDT2018-04-19 05:35:42 GMT
    (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar). In this Monday, April 16, 2018 photo, Kahled Mahmoud Nuseir, 25, center, who lost his wife, Fatmeh Karout nine months pregnant and daughters Qama 18 months and Nour two and half years, during the alleged chemical weapons attack...(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar). In this Monday, April 16, 2018 photo, Kahled Mahmoud Nuseir, 25, center, who lost his wife, Fatmeh Karout nine months pregnant and daughters Qama 18 months and Nour two and half years, during the alleged chemical weapons attack...
    Residents of Douma were packed into underground shelters amid bombardment when the gas began to spread.More >>
    Residents of Douma were packed into underground shelters amid bombardment when the gas began to spread.More >>
  • NationalMore>>

  • Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens charged over charity donor list

    Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens charged over charity donor list

    Friday, April 20 2018 6:54 PM EDT2018-04-20 22:54:07 GMT
    Friday, April 20 2018 7:56 PM EDT2018-04-20 23:56:46 GMT
    (Julie Smith/The Jefferson City News-Tribune via AP, File). FILE - In this April 11, 2018, file photo, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens speaks at a news conference in Jefferson City, Mo., about allegations related to an extramarital affair with his hairdres...(Julie Smith/The Jefferson City News-Tribune via AP, File). FILE - In this April 11, 2018, file photo, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens speaks at a news conference in Jefferson City, Mo., about allegations related to an extramarital affair with his hairdres...
    Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has been charged with a felony related to his use of a charity donor list for his 2016 political campaign.More >>
    Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has been charged with a felony related to his use of a charity donor list for his 2016 political campaign.More >>
  • Student from Zambia ruled eligible for US poetry contest

    Student from Zambia ruled eligible for US poetry contest

    Friday, April 20 2018 7:43 PM EDT2018-04-20 23:43:50 GMT
    Friday, April 20 2018 7:54 PM EDT2018-04-20 23:54:12 GMT
    (Troy R. Bennett/The Bangor Daily News via AP). In this April 12, 2018 photo, Allan Monga, 19, a high school student who fled his native Zambia, recites a poem during a news conference in Portland, Maine.  A judge on Friday, April 20, 2018, ruled  that...(Troy R. Bennett/The Bangor Daily News via AP). In this April 12, 2018 photo, Allan Monga, 19, a high school student who fled his native Zambia, recites a poem during a news conference in Portland, Maine. A judge on Friday, April 20, 2018, ruled that...
    A judge has ruled a high school student in Maine who fled his native Zambia can compete in a government-funded national poetry contest.More >>
    A judge has ruled a high school student in Maine who fled his native Zambia can compete in a government-funded national poetry contest.More >>
  • About 2,500 mourners pay respects to Barbara Bush at viewing

    About 2,500 mourners pay respects to Barbara Bush at viewing

    Friday, April 20 2018 1:43 AM EDT2018-04-20 05:43:25 GMT
    Friday, April 20 2018 7:59 PM EDT2018-04-20 23:59:35 GMT
    (AP Photo/Evan Vucci). Barbara Hargrove of Houston, waits for the start of a ceremony celebrating the life of former first lady Barbara Bush at City Hall, Thursday, April 19, 2018, in Houston.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci). Barbara Hargrove of Houston, waits for the start of a ceremony celebrating the life of former first lady Barbara Bush at City Hall, Thursday, April 19, 2018, in Houston.
    As the outpouring of tributes continues for Barbara Bush, the general public can pay its respects to the former first lady.More >>
    As the outpouring of tributes continues for Barbara Bush, the general public can pay its respects to the former first lady.More >>
Powered by Frankly