LUXEMBOURG – The United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Boris Johnson stressed on Monday his stance that recent airstrikes conducted by the United States, the United Kingdom and France against alleged chemical weapons plants in Syria were the appropriate thing to do.
The international coalition took the military action against the Syrian regime in response to its alleged use of chemical weapons against Douma, a city in the Eastern Ghouta region near Damascus that at the time of the assault, on April 7, was still under the control of the armed opposition.
“Looking at the pictures of what happened on April 7 in Douma you can see that the action that was taken by France, by the UK, by the United States in launching calibrated and proportionate strikes against Assad’s chemical weapons capabilities was entirely right,” Johnson said.
An estimated 70 people died in the attack on Douma, including 40 who allegedly showed symptoms of exposure to chemical poisoning and images circulated widely on social media appeared to show harrowing scenes of child victims of the strikes.
Syria and its main international backer Russia denied any responsibility for the alleged chemical attack.
The UK’s top diplomat said the strikes were not intended to change the tide of the war to remove President Bashar al-Assad from office.
“But it was the world saying that we’ve had enough of the use of chemical weapons, the erosion of that taboo that has been in place for 100 years has gone too far under Bashar al-Assad and it was time that we said no,” he added.
Syria is set to the be at the top of the agenda at the foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg as dignitaries seek to lay the groundwork for an upcoming summit in Brussels, where an emphasis is being put on a bid to relaunch United Nations-led peace talks for Syria.