BEIJING (Dispatches) – World leaders have adhered to the call for de-escalation in war-torn Syria and political settlement, following the U.S.-led tripartite military attacks on alleged chemical weapons facilities in the nation.
The strikes, launched by the United States along with its allies Britain and France before daybreak Saturday, followed reports of suspected chemical weapons use in Douma district on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus on April 7.
The Syrian government has strongly denied the allegation, calling for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to send a fact-finding mission for investigations. However, the three nations carried out the strike on the day the mission just arrived in Damascus.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Ruhani condemned the airstrikes over phone, agreeing that the "illegal action seriously damages the prospects for a political settlement" in the war-torn country, according to a Kremlin statement.
"Putin in particular stressed that if such actions, carried out in violation of the UN Charter, continue, it will inevitably lead to chaos in international relations," the statement said.
The Arab League, at the summit held in eastern Saudi city of Dhahran, also denounced the use of chemical weapons in any place, requiring an international investigation in accordance with international regulations into any such case.
Jordanian King Abdullah II said the Syrian crisis should be resolved through political negotiation other than any military action which could escalate regional conflicts.
Iran's Foreign Ministry also condemned the joint strike, saying in a statement "this invasion is a clear violation of international regulations and undermining Syria's national sovereignty and integrity."
The political adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has praised Syria’s air defenses for intercepting most of the missiles fired by the U.S. and its allies at the Arab country on Saturday.
Bouthaina Shaaban said in remarks published on the Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen website that the victory marks the beginning of the end of the American empire.
"The breaking of their evil aggression is the beginning of the vanishing of their empire, which will be replaced by new forces which respects the humanity, sovereignty and safety of peoples,” she said.
"The most important fact we should record here for Trump is that his missiles are not smart, not accurate – and that the Syrian air defenses have given the evidence that they are more smart and accurate than his missiles. He should be careful about his tweets,” Shaaban said.
She was referring to Trump’s tweet before the attack, warning Syria and allies to get ready for the missiles and suggesting that the rockets would evade air defenses because they were "nice and new and smart.”
Shaaban noted that the U.S.-led airstrikes had not intimidated the Syrians and instead sent cowering Israelis scrambling into air raid shelters.
"Instead of the Syrian people going to shelters, they went to the rooftops to watch Syrian forces shoot down scores of Trump’s missiles before they could reach their goals. This, while the settlers of the Zionist entity fled to their shelters.”
Shaaban also rejected Pentagon chief Jim Mattis’s allegations that installations linked to the production of chemical weapons had been bombed.
"The Center of Science and Research which provides knowledge to the best Syrian students every year was targeted,” she wrote.
"Trump is destroying this institution, which has no connection to producing any weapons. This is the lie of war about chemical weapons that Trump created.”
The Syrian official noted that the West and the Zionist regime aim to achieve "two things” in the region.
"One is that there be no unity in the [Arab] nation. The other is that [the Arab nation] not arm itself with science and knowledge, the highest value for humans."
A large number of anti-war protesters have again held demonstrations in cities across the United States to condemn the U.S.-led airstrikes.
Demonstrations were held in New York City, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Chicago, Oakland and Washington, DC, on Sunday, a day after similar protests were staged in several American cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Protesters also demonstrated outside the homes of Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco.
Demonstrations were held placards in support of peace and against America’s interventionist foreign policy.
Iraqis also came out in their thousands in Baghdad as well as the holy cities of Najaf and Basra to protest airstrikes.
Hundreds gathered in Baghdad's Tahrir Square with Syrian and Iraqi flags, to demonstrate their support for the Syrian people. They burned several U.S. flags and then stomped on them.
A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on April 14, 2018, shows men waiving the Syrian flag as they drive a motorcycle in a street in the Eastern Ghouta town of Douma after Syrian government forces entered the last militant bastion.