NATO Chief: Strikes on Syria Regime Clear Message to Assad, Iran

NATO Chief: Strikes on Syria Regime Clear Message to Assad, Iran

Monday, 16 April, 2018 - 10:15
NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg addresses a press conference following British, French and US strikes against Syria's regime at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on April 14, 2018. AFP
Asharq Al-Awsat
NATO's secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said Monday the weekend's US-led punitive strikes will reduce the Syrian regime's capabilities of carrying out new chemical attacks.

Stoltenberg said the strikes by the United States, France and Britain were a "clear message" to the head of the regime, Bashar Assad, to Russia and Iran that the use of chemical weapons is not acceptable and that the allies would not stand by and watch.

Stoltenberg spoke in an interview with Turkey's NTV television. The TV broadcast his comments with Turkish translations.

The NATO chief is in Turkey for talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other officials.

The US, UK and France told NATO envoys on Saturday their coordinated air strikes on the Syrian regime targets were a last resort and aimed to stop more chemical attacks, Stoltenberg said.

The three allies briefed NATO ambassadors at a special session at the alliance headquarters and won support from the other 26 NATO members, who sought more diplomatic pressure to uphold an international ban on poison gas attacks like the one the West believes the regime conducted on April 7 in Douma.

The strikes "degraded the capabilities of Syria to conduct new attacks and at the same time sent a clear message which deters further attacks", Stoltenberg told a news conference after the meeting.

"We will never have a total guarantee against new attacks as long as we have regimes which are willing to use chemical weapons," he said. "Chemical weapons cannot be used with impunity and cannot be normalized."

NATO was not involved in the strikes.

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