Turkey, World, Middle East

US strike on Assad regime a 'positive response': Erdogan aide

Turkish presidential spokesman says US missile strike on Syrian regime air base is 'positive response' to Assad's war crimes

07.04.2017
US strike on Assad regime a 'positive response': Erdogan aide

ANKARA 

Turkey’s presidency praised the U.S. missile strike on a Syrian air base early Friday.

"We view the U.S. missile strike carried out this morning against Shayrat air base in Homs, Syria as a positive response against the war crimes of Assad," said presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin in a written statement Friday.

Kalin said making Shayrat air base unusable is an important response to stop the use of chemical and conventional weapons on civilians.

"A no-flight zone and safe haven should be realized urgently in order to prevent similar massacres," Kalin added.   

The U.S. fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian military air base American officials believe was used to carry out a deadly chemical attack Tuesday, the Pentagon confirmed.

The missiles were fired from two U.S. destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean and hit the air base at approximately 3:45 a.m. Syrian local time Friday (0045GMT). Aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and radars were targeted, the Pentagon said.

Also, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus early Friday welcomed U.S. missile attacks on a Syrian airbase explaining it 'significant' and 'meaningful'.

His statement comes hours after the U.S. military attacked the Shayrat Airfield in central Syria, which American officials believe was used to carry out a deadly chemical attack on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters in Istanbul, Kurtulmus hoped the operation would contribute to establish a sustainable peace in Syria.

“So, we welcome this,” he added.

“But the international community should continue their clear stance against this barbarism of Assad regime until it becomes unable to hurt people,” Kurtulmus said.

The Turkish minister urged for sustainable peace in the country.

“The peace process should be accelerated. Not an imposed peace but a fair peace that could be accepted by all parts of the society that suffered the brutality.

“Assad regime should be punished in international field.”

Later, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the U.S. had informed the international anti-Daesh coalition before its attack on a Syrian airbase.

"There is nothing wrong on this issue," Cavusoglu told reporters in the Mediterranean province of Antalya.

He added that U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John R. Bass had also contacted his ministry's undersecretary.

Saying that Turkey supported the U.S. missile attacks on the Syrian airbase, he added: "We consider the U.S. intervention appropriate and support it."

Cavusoglu also said the Bashar al-Assad regime must be removed from power and the best way to do this is to establish a transitional government.

Pointing to the importance of safe zones in Syria, an idea Turkey has long championed, Cavusoglu said that the establishment of such zones is now more necessary than ever.

Turkey hopes for a "systematic" and "dissuasive" plan to stop the Bashar al-Assad regime from killing people, Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Omer Celik said Friday.

Speaking to reporters in southern Adana province about the U.S. strikes on a Syrian military base, Celik said: “We would like to read [the U.S.] response to the Assad regime as determination against Assad’s massacres.

“We hope this is not just a reaction to the situation. There should be a systematic and dissuasive plan to sidetrack the Assad regime from killing his people.”

Saudi Arabia, Israel praise move

Saudi Arabia announced its "full support for the U.S. military operations on military targets in Syria," according to a statement published by the official Saudi SPA news agency. 

The news agency quoted an official source in the Saudi Foreign Ministry saying, "We hail the courageous decision of U.S. President Donald Trump, which represents a response to the crimes of this [Assad] regime against his people in light of the failure of the international community to stop him."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also hailed the U.S. airstrike on Shayrat Airbase.

"In words and actions President Trump sent a strong and clear response: The use of chemical weapons is unacceptable," Netanyahu said in a statement.

"Israel fully and unequivocally supports the president’s decision and hopes the clear message will reverberate not only in Damascus but also in Tehran, Pyongyang, and elsewhere," he added.

'Warning'

France said the airstrike was a "warning" to and "condemnation" of Bashar al-Assad's "criminal regime". 

France’s foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, said he was informed by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about the strike during the night.

The use of chemical weapons is a "terrible reality" which must be punished because it is a "war crime", he told reporters.

The U.S. strike was a "sort of condemnation" against the "criminal regime" of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, said Ayrault.

"It is a signal that has been given...it is a warning," he said, adding that Russia and Iran need to understand that supporting al-Assad makes no sense, and that France is not seeking a confrontation with those two countries.

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