United Kingdom Prime Minister Statement on Syria
(Source: UK Prime Minister’s Office; issued April 14, 2018)
The Prime Minister has made a statement on Syria. Prime Minister Theresa May:
This evening I have authorised British armed forces to conduct co-ordinated and targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian Regime’s chemical weapons capability and deter their use.
We are acting together with our American and French allies.
In Douma, last Saturday a chemical weapons attack killed up to 75 people, including young children, in circumstances of pure horror.
The fact of this attack should surprise no-one.
The Syrian Regime has a history of using chemical weapons against its own people in the most cruel and abhorrent way.
And a significant body of information including intelligence indicates the Syrian Regime is responsible for this latest attack.
This persistent pattern of behaviour must be stopped – not just to protect innocent people in Syria from the horrific deaths and casualties caused by chemical weapons but also because we cannot allow the erosion of the international norm that prevents the use of these weapons.
We have sought to use every possible diplomatic channel to achieve this.
But our efforts have been repeatedly thwarted. Even this week the Russians vetoed a Resolution at the UN Security Council which would have established an independent investigation into the Douma attack.
So there is no practicable alternative to the use of force to degrade and deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Regime.
This is not about intervening in a civil war. It is not about regime change.
It is about a limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region and that does everything possible to prevent civilian casualties.
And while this action is specifically about deterring the Syrian Regime, it will also send a clear signal to anyone else who believes they can use chemical weapons with impunity.
At this time, my thoughts are with our brave British servicemen and women – and our French and American partners – who are carrying out their duty with the greatest professionalism.
The speed with which we are acting is essential in co-operating with our partners to alleviate further humanitarian suffering and to maintain the vital security of our operations.
This is the first time as Prime Minister that I have had to take the decision to commit our armed forces in combat – and it is not a decision I have taken lightly.
I have done so because I judge this action to be in Britain’s national interest.
We cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised – within Syria, on the streets of the UK, or anywhere else in our world.
We would have preferred an alternative path. But on this occasion there is none.
History teaches us that the international community must defend the global rules and standards that keep us all safe.
That is what our country has always done. And what we will continue to do.
Press Release of the President of the Republic on the Intervention of the French Armed Forces in Response to the Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria
(Source: French President’s Office; issued April 14, 2018)
(Issued in French only; unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
On Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Duma, dozens of men, women and children were massacred with chemical weapons, in total violation of international law and of UN Security Council resolutions.
The facts and the responsibility of the Syrian regime are beyond doubt.
The red line set by France in May 2017 has been crossed.
So, I ordered the French armed forces to intervene last night, as part of an international operation in coalition with the United States of America and the United Kingdom, and directed against the clandestine chemical arsenal of the Syrian regime.
Our response has been limited to the capabilities of the Syrian regime to produce and use chemical weapons.
We cannot tolerate the trivialization of the use of chemical weapons, which is an immediate danger for the Syrian people and for our collective security. This is the meaning of the initiatives constantly tabled by France at the United Nations Security Council.
France and its partners will resume, as of today, their efforts at the United Nations to allow the establishment of an international mechanism to establish responsibilities, to prevent impunity and to prevent any repeat by the Syrian regime.
Since May 2017, the priorities of France in Syria are constant: to end the fight against Daesh, to allow access of humanitarian aid organisations to civil populations and to initiate a collective political dynamic to reach a political settlement of the conflict, so that Syria may finally find peace, and ensure the stability of the region.
I will pursue these priorities with determination in the days and weeks to come.
In accordance with Article 35, paragraph 2, of the Constitution, Parliament will be informed and a parliamentary debate will be organized, following this decision to intervene of our armed forces abroad.
Statement by Secretary James N. Mattis on Syria
(Source: US Department of Defense; issued April 13, 2018)
As the world knows, the Syrian people have suffered terribly under the prolonged brutality of the Assad regime.
On April 7th, the regime decided to again defy the norms of civilized people, showing callous disregard for international law by using chemical weapons to murder women, children and other innocents. We and our allies find these atrocities inexcusable.
As our commander in chief, the president has the authority under Article II of the Constitution to use military force overseas to defend important U.S. national interests. The United States has an important national interest in averting a worsening catastrophe in Syria, and specifically deterring the use and proliferation of chemical weapons.
Last year, in response to a chemical weapons attack against civilians and to signal the regime to cease chemical weapons use, we targeted the military base from which the weapons were delivered.
Earlier today, President Trump directed the U.S. military to conduct operations, in consonance with our allies, to destroy the Syrian regime's chemical weapons research, development and production capabilities.
Tonight, France, the United Kingdom and the United States took decisive action to strike the Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure.
Clearly, the Assad regime did not get the message last year. This time, our allies and we have struck harder. Together, we have sent a clear message to Assad, and his murderous lieutenants, that they should not perpetrate another chemical weapons attack for which they will be held accountable.
The 70 nations in the defeat ISIS coalition remain committed to defeating ISIS in Syria. The strike tonight separately demonstrates international resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used on anyone, under any circumstance, in contravention of international law.
I want to emphasize that these strikes are directed at the Syrian regime. In conducting these strikes, we have gone to great lengths to avoid civilian and foreign casualties.
But it is time for all civilized nations to urgently unite in ending the Syrian civil war by supporting the United Nations backed Geneva peace process.
In accordance with the chemical weapons convention prohibiting the use of such weapons, we urge responsible nations to condemn the Assad regime and join us in our firm resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used again.
General Dunford will provide a military update.
Based on recent experience, we fully expect a significant disinformation campaign over the coming days by those who have aligned themselves with the Assad regime. In an effort to maintain transparency and accuracy, my assistant for public affairs, Dana White, and Lt. Gen. McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff, will provide a brief of known details tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.