Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the country fully supports the air strikes conducted by the United States on Syria. Turnbull said the air strikes was successful in sending a strong message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that the world will never tolerate the use of chemical weapons on the innocents:
“The use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere, under any circumstances is illegal and utterly reprehensible. The Assad regime must not be allowed to commit such crimes with impunity.”
The United States was joined by the military forces of France and the United Kingdom. The coalition reportedly launched more than 100 missiles from air craft and battleships to target three facilities suspected of manufacturing chemical weapons.
One week prior to the air strikes, U.S. President Donald Trump warned President al- Assad that they would be held accountable for the chemical attack on the city of Douma near Damascus.
Australia has always been a staunch ally of the United States. The country is likewise a member of the Five Eyes security alliance but did not participate in the air strikes. However, Australia issued a statement throwing its weight behind the coalition’s planned air strikes.
The air strikes were greatly criticized by Syria’s biggest allies: Russia, China and Iran. To this regard, Turnbull reminded the allies of their responsibilities as members of the Security Council:
“Syria’s main supporters must place pressure on the regime to end its abuse of international law and human rights. They must engage seriously in negotiations to bring the seven- year civil war to an end.”
Another world leader who expressed support to the U.S. led- coalition air strikes was Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan:
“With the joint operation by U.S., U.K., and France on Saturday, the Syrian regime received the message that its massacres wouldn’t be left unanswered. The innocent Syrian people should have been defended long ago.”
Australia’s Defence Minister, Marise Payne, said she was briefed by U.S. Secretary of Defence James Mattis early Saturday morning on the details of the air strikes. According to Payne, Mattis explained the coalition was targeting three suspected facilities but did not request for military support from Australia:
“It has reduced the regime’s ability to use chemical weapons in the future and sends a clear and strong message that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated by the international community.”