Russia — a key Syrian ally — said the unilateral U.S. action would cause “significant damage to US-Russia ties” and create a “serious obstacle” to creating an international coalition to defeat ISIS.
According to the statement, Russian President Vladimir Putin regards the strikes as an attempt to distract from the 150 civilians killed by the U.S. during attacks last week in Mosul.
While U.S. defense department officials reported that they informed Russian military officials of the attack, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that there had been no communication at the political level with Russian officials prior to the attack.
Earlier on Thursday, Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vladimir Safronkov, said in response to reports of a potential U.S. strike on Syria: “If there is a military action, all responsibility will fall on those who have started a (campaign) so tragic and dubious.”
Both Russia and Syria have denied responsibility for a chemical attack in Idlib province on Tuesday, both suggesting that the deadly chemical weapons were part of an opposition weapons cache which was attacked by Syrian forces.
Late on Thursday, Syrian state television reportedly condemned the “U.S. aggression against Syrian military objectives,” according to HispanTV.
On Friday morning AP reported that the office of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a statement calling the attacks “reckless,” “irresponsible,” and “shortsighted.”
Syria’s official news agency issued a separate statement saying the attacks confirmed Syria’s contention that the U.S. is intent on “dominating the whole world.”
“The U.S. has started an illegal action targeting one of our airbases against our sovereignty and bringing up new evidence in support of what Syria was saying — and still is — that the U.S. administrations are the initiators of the ongoing dirty war against our people and aim at dominating countries and subjecting independent nations to its will and dominating the whole world,” said the statement.
The governor of Homs province in Syria where the strikes took place reported that there were casualties yet gave no specific figures, according to Reuters.
Talal Barzani added that the attacks would “serve the goals of terrorism in Syria and the goals of Israel in the long run.”
He was adamant that the attacks would not deter Syria in its ongoing war with internal opponents, “Syrian leadership and Syrian policy will not change. This targeting was not the first and I don’t believe it will be the last.”
The Syrian Coalition, a so-called “moderate opposition” group considered a terrorist organization by the Syrian government, said they “welcomed the attack and ask Washington to neutralize the capacity of Assad to carry out attacks,” according to a statement by Ahmad Ramada, a spokesperson for the group, as reported by HispanTV.
Major Jamil al-Saleh, a US-backed Syrian opposition commander, said he hoped the US attack on a government air base would be a “turning point” in the six-year war, according to an AP report.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said the “unilateral action is dangerous, destructive and violates the principles of international law”, according to the Guardian.
He added that Iran condemned the missile launch “regardless of the perpetrators and the victims” of Tuesday’s chemical weapons attack in Syria.”
He also warned it would “strengthen terrorists” and further add to “the complexity of the situation in Syria and the region.
In Turkey, the Health Ministry said in a statement before Thursday’s attack that survivors of Tuesday’s chemical explosion were exposed to the banned chemical agent Sarin on Thursday.
Earlier Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said that he would support any actions taken by the U.S. against Syria.
“Let the words of Trump’s intervention in Syria not stay in words. We are ready to support the US operation when it is held,” he said in response to Trump’s earlier statement that the U.S. was planning a response to Tuesday’s alleged chemical attack.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a brief statement early on Friday morning saying that Israel “fully supports” the U.S. attack.
The U.K. government issued a statement supporting the unilateral U.S. attack.
“The U.K. government fully supports the U.S. action, which we believe was an appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack launched by the Syrian regime, and is intended to deter further attacks,” said the statement issued by Downing street early Friday.
During a press conference Friday morning, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had phoned him ahead of the strike to inform him.
Turnbull said he “strongly supports” Trump’s attack on Syria saying the reported Syrian chemical attack on Friday was “crime that called out for a swift response.”
At the same time, he said that “we are not at war with the Assad regime.”
As news of the attacks broke, markets in Asia responded with the price of a barrel of oil rising slightly to US$52.70.