South Africa opposed Syria air strikes

The alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria cannot be a justification for military airstrikes

Syrian Air strikes

South Africa was opposed to the air strikes being conducted in the territory of Syria and from the onset, when the Syrian crisis broke out, consistently called for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

The South African Government has noted with grave concern the airstrikes conducted by the United Kingdom, the United States and French military in the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic.

The alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria cannot be a justification for military airstrikes in a territory of a sovereign state without the authorization of the UNSC. South Africa condemned the use of chemical weapons by any party in the Syrian territory.

We remain steadfast in our principled position that the issue should be resolved in the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).  We urge all members of the UNSC to shoulder their UN Charter mandate for the maintenance of international peace and security and double all efforts towards a peaceful non-military solution that respects and guarantees the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria.

Before dawn on Saturday, a coalition of U.S., U.K. and French forces launched more than 100 missiles targeting three chemical facilities in Syria in retaliation for an apparent chemical attack that killed dozens of civilians on April 7. Satellite images show a glimpse of the damage done by the strike.

A photograph released Sunday by DigitalGlobe, an American company that specializes in space imaging, appears to show what remains of the Barzah Research and Development Center in Damascus after being struck. According to a Pentagon official, targets were selected that participated in the research, development and deployment of chemical weapons.

A total of 76 missiles were launched on the Barzah site, according to Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., Department of Defense Joint Staff Director. “This is going to set the Syrian chemical weapons program back for years,” McKenzie said in a press briefing.

Syria condemned the attack as a “flagrant violation of the international law,” according to Syria’s official SANA news agency.

 

Pictured:  Satellite image, taken Monday morning, shows the Barzah Research and Development Center in Damascus after it was struck by coalition forces on Friday. satellite image © 2018 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company

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