US missile attack on Syria: Angela Merkel says action understandable given Syrian suffering

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that an attack by the United States on a Syrian airbase from which it said a chemical weapons attack was launched this week was 'understandable' given the Syrian people's suffering.

"The attack of the United States is understandable given the dimension of the war crimes, given the suffering of innocent people, and given the blockage in the UN Security Council," Merkel said.

Angela Merkel said US was right to attack Syrian airbase. AFP

File Angela Merkel. AFP

She described the strikes as "limited and targeted".

The United States had fired cruise missiles on Friday at a Syrian airbase from which President Donald Trump said a deadly chemical weapons attack had been launched, the first direct US assault on the government of Bashar al-Assad in six years of civil war.

In the biggest foreign policy decision of his presidency so far, Trump ordered the step his predecessor Barack Obama never took: directly targetting Assad's military as punishment for the chemical weapons attack which killed at least 70 people.

That catapulted the United States into a confrontation with Russia, which has military advisers on the ground assisting its close ally Assad.

The swift action is likely to be interpreted not only as a signal to Russia, but also to other countries such as North Korea, China and Iran where Trump has faced foreign policy tests early in his presidency.

The Syrian army said the US attack killed six people at its air base near the city of Homs. It called the attack "blatant aggression" and said it made the United States a "partner" of "terrorist groups" including Islamic State. Homs governor Talal Barazi said the death toll was seven.


Published Date: Apr 07, 2017 06:34 pm | Updated Date: Apr 07, 2017 06:34 pm

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