- The Guardian
- Issue #1952
The attack ordered by US President Joe Biden against Syria received condemnation from Damascus and Moscow, capitals that separately described the aerial bombardment as “cowardly” and “condemnable in strong terms,” respectively.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry condemned in a note the US bombing in the southeast of the Arab country and described it as “cowardly,” while noting that Damascus “condemns in strong terms the cowardly US aggression against some districts in the province of Deir Ezzor, near the border with Iraq.”
The Syrian condemnation joins that of Russia where the spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova said that “We strongly condemn such actions” while calling for “absolute respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria.” In this regard, she added that “we confirm our opposition to any attempt to turn the Syrian territory into a field for settling geopolitical scores,” the Russian diplomat added.
Likewise, the Kremlin stated that it is monitoring the situation after the US airstrike.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, for his part, said Moscow received a four-to-five minute warning from the Biden administration’s first military action when it attacked suspected Iranian-backed militias in eastern Syria early Friday morning and that the warning came too late to alleviate the situation.
Russia emerged as a key player in Syria when President Vladimir Putin deployed forces in 2015 at the behest of President Bashar al-Assad and Moscow claims to be the only legal foreign actor in Syria as Assad sought Russian help to tackle terrorism in the country’s civil war.
From Moscow, Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the Russian State Duma foreign affairs committee, said the attack showed that Washington was not interested in peace in Syria. “It is obvious that the priorities of the new US administration do not include peace on Syrian territory and the war on terrorism,” Slutsky said.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the strike hit facilities used by Iran-linked Iraqi militias, including Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, at a strategic border crossing station in eastern Syria. The strike was “authorized in response to recent attacks against US and coalition personnel in Iraq, and ongoing threats,” Kirby said.
The last US strike against the Syrian border region was in late 2019 when the Pentagon struck two Kataib Hezbollah locations. While the US has not attacked the area since then, Israel regularly strikes sites near the Syrian-Iraqi border.
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