UPDATES WITH FEDERICA MOGHERINI QUOTES
By Cansu Dikme and Nilay Kar Onum
ANKARA/ISTANBUL (AA) - NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Saturday backed the joint airstrikes carried out by the U.S., U.K. and France in Syria.
“I support the actions taken by the United States, the United Kingdom and France against the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons facilities and capabilities,” Stoltenberg said in a statement.
“This will reduce the regime’s ability to further attack the people of Syria with chemical weapons.”
Recalling the consistent NATO condemnation of Syria's continued use of chemical weapons, the alliance chief said the alleged use of such weapons had been a clear breach of international norms and agreements.
“The use of chemical weapons is unacceptable, and those responsible must be held accountable,” Stoltenberg said.
“NATO considers the use of chemical weapons as a threat to international peace and security, and believes that it is essential to protect the Chemical Weapons Convention.
"This calls for a collective and effective response by the international community.”
European Council President Donald Tusk also supported the joint strikes.
“Strikes by US, France and UK make it clear that Syrian regime together with Russia & Iran cannot continue this human tragedy, at least not without cost,” Tusk posted on Twitter on Saturday.
“The EU will stand with our allies on the side of justice.”
In a written statement, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini said: “The European Union reiterates its strongest condemnation of the repeated use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime, as confirmed by the OPCW/UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) and as reported continuously in recent months in Eastern Ghouta and other areas in Syria, including the most recent reports of a devastating chemical attack on Douma.
“The EU is supportive of all efforts aimed at the prevention of the use of chemical weapons.
“It finds it deeply shocking that the international community is still confronted with the use of chemical weapons, as confirmed by the OPCW Fact Finding Mission.”
On Friday night, the U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the U.S., U.K. and France jointly launched strikes targeting the Assad regime's chemical weapons capabilities after a suspected chemical attack killed dozens outside of Damascus.
The White Helmets, a civil defense agency, blamed the Assad regime for the alleged chemical attack, which it said killed 78 civilians and injured hundreds of others.