Syrian Catholic leaders condemn U.S. air strike against Assad regime

  • Written by:

Jardine Malado
(Reuters/Ammar Abdullah)A man breathes through an oxygen mask as another one receives treatments, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017.

Syrian Catholic leaders have condemned the missile strikes launched against their nation by the U.S. on Thursday following a chemical attack that killed over 80 civilians in the Syrian town of Idlib.

The U.S. government launched 59 missiles to target a Syrian military base in an attempt to block its ability to deliver chemical weapons, Crux reported.

The Catholic leaders lamented that the strikes were carried out before an investigation of the alleged chemical attack was completed. Syrian Bishop Georges Abou Khazen, Vicar of Aleppo for Latin-rite Catholics, said that the action taken by the U.S. was reckless, and he claimed that the missile attack opens “new disturbing scenarios for all.”

“One thing that baffles, in the face of the U.S. military attack on Syrian territory, is the speed with which it was decided and carried out, without any adequate investigation into the tragic massacre with chemical weapons,” said the bishop.

The U.S. government is convinced that President Bashar al-Assad perpetrated the chemical attack, although some observers disagree.

Following the news about the chemical attack, Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo said that he could not imagine that the Syrian government “is so naive and ignorant to be able to do such ‘errors.'”

Audo noted that the Syrian government and the opposition have continued to blame each other for the 2013 chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus.

Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph Younan described the U.S. missile strike as an “aggression” and castigated the U.S. administration for not waiting for the U.N. to conduct an investigation on what was believed to be a chemical air strike.

“The agglomerate media and the supremacist policy of the USA just want the killing and destroying conflict in Syria to continue, and this primarily to kill whatever attempt to resolve the bloody crisis,” said Younan, who has served as the bishop of the New Jersey-based Diocese of Our Lady of Deliverance for Syriac Catholics in the United States and Canada for 14 years.

According to Syrian state news agency SANA, the U.S. air strike has killed nine civilians, including four children.

Turkish president Recep Erdogan welcomed the U.S. operation, but he said that it was not sufficient.

Russia, a long-time ally of Assad, said that the attack on the Syrian base was “reckless” and called for an urgent U.N. Security Council meeting.