Muslim leaders have been responding to US President Donald Trump’s overnight missile strikes on a Syrian government air base suspected of launching a chemical attack on a rebel-held town on Tuesday.
The UK government said it fully supported the strikes and had been in close contact with the US government. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “The Americans believe they’ve exhausted all possible diplomatic and peaceful ways of dealing with the use by the regime of chemical weapons and they have been determined to try to prevent future attacks like this so they’ve taken this action today.” He said the US “hasn’t declared war” on Syria and the UK had not been asked to get involved.
But Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said the US action “risks escalating the war in Syria still further.” The opposition leader’s words put him at odds with Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson, who has backed the US action.
Corbyn said: “Tuesday’s horrific chemical attack was a war crime which requires urgent independent UN investigation and those responsible must be held to account. But unilateral military action without legal authorisation or independent verification risks intensifying a multi-sided conflict that has already killed hundreds of thousands of people.”
He said the UK government “should urge restraint on the Trump administration and throw its weight behind peace negotiations and a comprehensive political settlement.”
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has said it fully supports the US military strikes, praising what it described as “the courageous decision” by US President Trump.
Turkey’s foreign ministry said on Friday it viewed US missile strikes against a Syrian air base “extremely positively” and added that Turkey would fully support steps that would ensure accountability for the Syrian regime.
But a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, quoted by ISNA news agency, said: “Iran strongly condemns any such unilateral strikes … such measures will strengthen terrorists in Syria… and will complicate the situation in Syria and the region.”