Egypt’s Foreign Ministry expressed its “extreme concern at the current military escalation on Syrian territories,” following airstrikes carried out in the early hours of Saturday morning by US, British and French troops against targets linked to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Over 100 missiles from both sea and aircraft were used in the overnight strikes, which were carried out by Western forces in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack by the Assad government in the city of Douma, close to the Syrian capital of Damascus, last week.
The targets of Saturday’s attack included a research center for the development, production and testing of chemical and biological weapons in Damascus, according to Reuters, as well as two chemical weapons storage facilities in Homs.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry expressed Egypt’s “complete rejection” of “the use of any internationally sanctioned weapons on Syrian lands,” and called for a “transparent international investigation into the issue” according to internationally agreed upon procedures.
Saturday’s attack “threatens the understandings reached regarding the determination of de-escalation zones,” it added.
The statement expressed solidarity with the Syrian people and called on major states to “bear the responsibility for pushing for a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis,” which should steer clear of polarization.
Russia — Assad’s most powerful ally in the Syrian civil war — announced that Syrian air defense systems were able to obstruct most of the attacking rockets. Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, said the attack represents a threat against Moscow, adding that “all the responsibility for these consequences will fall on Washington, London and Paris.”
US Defense Secretary James Mattis described the attack as a “one-time shot” to signal to the Syrian regime that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia — Egypt’s regional ally — expressed its “full support” of the strikes in a statement by the Saudi Foreign Ministry, saying “the military operation was necessary to protect civilians and stop chemical use.” Other Arab nations, including Bahrain and Qatar, have also voiced their support of the strikes.
The Iraqi government, however, issued a statement warning that the strikes will have dangerous consequences, threaten the security and stability of the region and promote terrorism.