US missile strike on Syria lacked political, practical justification: Deputy fm

Press TV- A high-ranking Syrian official has strongly denounced a recent US missile attack against a military airfield in Syria’s central province of Homs, stressing that the assault targeted those fighting terrorism in the region.

Speaking at a press conference in the capital city of Damascus on Monday, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Miqdad stated that Damascus government called upon experts from the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to investigate a suspected chemical incident in the town of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib Province on April 4, but received no response.

Miqdad went on to say that the April 7 launch of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from two US warships in the Mediterranean Sea at Shayrat airfield lacked any political, moral, or practical justification, and that the act of aggression negatively affected the anti-terror campaign.

US officials claimed that the suspected chemical incident in Khan Shaykhun , which reportedly killed over 80 people, had been launched from the military site. Syria has vehemently dismissed the allegations of being behind the attack.

Syria’s official news agency, SANA, reported that at least nine people had been killed in the early-morning US strike on the Syrian airfield.

Miqdad underlined that the Syrian government had already surrendered its stockpiles of chemical weapons to a joint mission led by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which oversaw the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons.

The United States is creating problems for Syrian government forces, who are making advances in battles against foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants across the war-ravaged Arab country, the top Syrian official said.

He added that enemies of the Damascus government had no excuses for military intervention in Syria other than “cheap propaganda” concerning alleged use of chemical weapons.

“West is creating conditions for terrorists to use chemical warfare, and then surprisingly accuses the Syrian government for the misdeed. Why should the Syrian government launch a chemical attack when its forces are making gains against terrorists,” Miqdad commented.

He stated that Syrian government forces did not even make use of chemical munitions when Takfiri terrorists had overrun military sites and sensitive facilities.

Miqdad said certain Arab regimes and Western countries are arming, harboring, and supporting terrorist networks under orders from the US and Israel, adding that any wise man could simply understand that Washington was working to prolong the crisis in Syria in order to serve the interests of the Tel Aviv regime.

Turning to the ongoing rounds of Astana peace talks aimed at bringing an end to the deadly Syrian conflict, Miqdad stated that consultations are going on among all involved parties.

The Syrian deputy foreign minister emphasized that representatives from the Damascus government were talking with delegates from armed opposition groups only because Syrian government authorities were seeking to establish lasting peace and stability in the country.

Miqdad also leveled strident criticism at neighboring Turkey, stating that Ankara government was a part of the Syrian crisis, because it has been supporting Takfiri militant groups inside Syria ever since the conflict broke out in March 2011.

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