US strike on Syrian Homs airbase reflects support for terrorists: Ambassador

Syrian military airfield in Ash Sha’irat

The US strike on the Syrian military base in Ash Sha’irat in the Homs province is indicative of support for terrorists and encourages them to continue further attacks, Syria’s Ambassador to China and former Ambassador to the United States Imad Moustapha told Sputnik on Friday.

On Thursday night, the United States launched multiple Tomahawk cruise missiles at the military airfield in Ash Sha’irat. US President Donald Trump said that the attack was a response to the alleged chemical weapon use in Syria’s Idlib on Tuesday, which Washington blames on the Syrian government.

“Destroying Syrian military assets while the Syrian forces are engaged in a ferocious fight against terrorist groups constitutes a major and explicit support to al-Nusra Front [outlawed in Russia] … From now on the terrorist groups in Syria would be certain that whenever they want to induce a new US attack on the Syrian troops, they just need to replicate the chemical incident. This can only be stopped by a joint international action … Otherwise, the US policy on Syria and its actions there would become hostage to the whims and caprices of the terrorist groups” Moustapha said.

On Tuesday, the Syrian National Coalition of Revolutionary and Opposition Forces reported that some 80 people were killed and 200 injured in a chemical weapon attack in Idlib, blaming the Syrian army for the incident. The Syrian Armed Forces refuted the allegations, with a source in the Syrian army telling Sputnik that the army did not have chemical weapons.

After a 2013 chemical weapon attack in eastern Ghouta, Syria, which killed up to 1,500 people, Syria joined the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The country’s decision to join the convention came as result of a US-Russian agreement on the elimination of chemical weapons in Syria under OPCW control. In January 2016, the OPCW announced its completion of the chemical weapons disarmament in Syria.

However, in June 2016, the US State Department published a report which said Syria had continued to use chemical substances against citizens and suggested the country could also stockpile chemical weapons. After the report was released, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Kim Won-soo said that UN and OPCW experts still could not confirm the complete destruction of chemical weapon production facilities in Syria.