British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has thrown his full support behind US President Donald Trump’s order to launch a missile strike on Syria following allegations of a chemical attack in April, hailing the move as a “kinetic” response.
Johnson, speaking at an event in Australia on Thursday, praised Trump’s reaction to the Khan Shaykhun suspected gas attack, saying, “Actually, the Americans responded to the barbaric massacre on 4 April, when up to 100 people died in a chemical weapons attack, by kinetic action, which the Obama administration never did.”
The British foreign secretary also voiced support for Trump’s handling of relations with Russia over the conflict in Syria, noting that the US president has taken a more uncompromising approach towards the Kremlin than his predecessor, Barack Obama.
“When you look at how the Americans responded to the Syria crisis, they’ve been more hard-line against the Russians than the Obama administration was,” Johnson said.
“Is it fitting and right for the president of the United States to have any kind of personal relationship with Mr Putin? Well, I think, actually, it is. He didn’t meet him until 20 July, and they had a lot to discuss,” he added, rejecting claims that Trump was too close with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Following the Khan Shaykhun incident on April 4, the Western states and their regional allies rushed to pin the blame on the Syrian government, without providing any evidence to support their accusations.
Syria, however, rejected using banned weapons during its anti-terrorism operations.
Damascus agreed to surrender its entire chemical arsenal to the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in a mark of transparency after it was blamed for a similar attack in 2013.
The Russian Defense Ministry also said the Syrian air force had targeted a militant arms depot in the area that is believed to have contained some chemicals. Damascus and Moscow also called for a thorough and impartial investigation into the incident.
In a unilateral move on April 7, the US military, however, decided to target the Syrian army directly by firing 59 Tomahawk missiles at al-Shayrat airbase in Homs province in western Syria. Washington claimed that the airbase targeted in the missile raid was the origin of the Khan Shaykhun incident.
Trump said he had ordered the strike in response to the April 4 chemical attack in the Arab country that he had blamed on the Syrian government.