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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Saudi Arabia fully supports US-led strikes on Syria

The kingdom said the strikes were prompted by the "Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians

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Saudi Arabia welcomed the US-led strikes on Syrian chemical weapons sites on Saturday, while other countries called for a long-term political solution to the country's war.

“Saudi Arabia fully supports the strikes launched by the United States, France and Britain against Syria because they represent a response to the regime's crimes," said the foreign ministry in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

It said the strikes were prompted by the "Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians, including women and children".

Bahrain said it fully supported the actions of its western allies following the "brutal" chemical attack that "claimed the lives of dozens of innocent people, including women and children".

“This military operation was necessary to protect civilians on all Syrian territory and to prevent the use of any prohibited weapons that would increase the frequency of violence and the deterioration of humanitarian conditions,” the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by the official Bahrain News Agency.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have been key backers of Syrian opposition groups fighting President Bashar Al Assad.

The United States, France and Britain said they launched the strikes on Saturday in response to a chemical attack on the former rebel town of Douma near Damascus on April 7 by Syrian President Bashar Al Assad's forces.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Paris had "proof" the Syrian regime used chemical weapons, a claim denied by the Damascus government.

However, the Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said he felt regret and alarm over the missile strikes.

Speaking in the Saudi city of Dammam, where the 29th Arab League summit is being held on Sunday, Mr Aboul Gheit said that all parties involved in the crisis, primarily the Syrian government, were responsible for the deterioration of the situation.

The use of chemical weapons against civilians "shouldn't be accepted or tolerated" but the issue required a sustainable political solution for the Syrian crisis, he said.

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Jordan, a close US ally, did not refer directly to the missile strikes but said only a political solution would guarantee the stability of Syria.

“Continued violence will only lead to more violence, conflict, fighting and displacement whose victim is the Syrian people,” government spokesman Mohammad Al Momani said on Saturday in a statement carried by the state news agency Petra.

Iraq said the air strikes marked "a very dangerous development" and called for the Syria situation to be discussed at the Arab League summit on Sunday

"Such action could have dangerous consequences, threatening the security and stability of the region and giving terrorism another opportunity to expand after it was ousted from Iraq and forced into Syria to retreat to a large extent," the foreign ministry said.

Iraq's position is in line with those of Russia and Iran, the main backers of Mr Al Assad in the civil war which has raged in his country since 2011.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi last month said he wants "to keep away" from the conflict between the US and Iran.