BEIRUT: Hezbollah has described US-led military strikes against President Bashar Assad in Syria a “bold violation of Syrian sovereignty and the dignity of its people" after the US, France, and the UK reportedly targeted the heart of Assad’s programs to develop and produce chemical weapons.
In a statement released Saturday, the Iranian backed militant group condemned the “trilateral treacherous American-British-French aggression against Syria,” while stressing that the pretext for this assault is “fake and cannot challenge reason or logic.”
The strike came against the backdrop of an alleged chemical attack perpetrated by government forces on a rebel-held town in central Damascus last week which killed 40 people, mostly civilians.
After days of deliberation between US, French and British officials, and heightened rhetoric emanating from Washington, the strikes were carried out by manned aircraft and from ships that launched cruise missiles from the Mediterranean Sea.
Explosions were seen lighting up the skies over Damascus in the early hours of Saturday morning despite Russian officials calling for restraint to avoid the region slipping into further turmoil and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “calling on UNSC member states to avoid any acts that could escalate the situation.”
US President Donald Trump made good on his promise to send “new, smart and nice missiles” to Syria in an effort to sustain economic, diplomatic and military pressure on his Syrian counterpart to stop him from “killing his own people with internationally banned weapons.”
Earlier on Friday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah addressed Trump’s threats, telling supporters that his “tweets do not scare us.”
Speaking at an election campaign rally in Beirut, Nasrallah described Trump’s threats to target Syria as “Hollywood.”
Syrian officials have reported that most of the 110 missiles were intercepted by its defense mechanisms, with the country’s State TV noting that a training center and laboratories at a research facility in the Barzeh district outside Damascus were hit in the strike.
The Pentagon noted that the facility was responsible for the production of chemical weapons, yet the strikes that hit early Saturday in Syria came hours before inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons were set to arrive to inspect the site of the apparent attack.
The attack drew swift condemnation from Russian President Vladimir Putin as well, who said that it violated the UN charter and international law.
“This is an aggression against a sovereign state which is at the forefront of the fight against terrorism,” a statement released by the Kremlin read.
Russia has backed Assad’s forces alongside Hezbollah and Iran since the height of the war, providing military and logistical support to his army.
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