Russia and Iran on Saturday denounced overnight airstrikes from the U.S., France and Britain against targets associated with their ally Syrian leader Bashar Assad over an apparent chemical weapons attack.
“With their actions, the U.S. is deepening a humanitarian catastrophe in Syria,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Putin slammed the strikes as an “act of aggression against a sovereign state” and called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, but he stopped short of threatening any specific retaliation against the strikes.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, meanwhile, claimed in a post on his website that the leaders of the U.S., France and Britain “have committed a major crime.”
“They will gain no benefit; just as they did not while in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, over the past years, committing the same criminal acts,” he said.
Iran and Russia have both been close allies of Syria’s Assad, with Moscow providing military support for the Syrian government amid a years-long civil war there.
The Trump administration sought to prebut claims from such allies after launching about 120 missiles Friday at three targets in Syria associated with the government’s chemical weapons efforts.
Defense Secretary James Mattis ended a briefing with reporters at the Pentagon on Friday night by warning of false reports from “those who have aligned themselves with the Assad regime.”
“Based on recent experience we fully expect a significant disinformation campaign over the coming days,” Mattis said.
President Trump announced the “precision strikes” against Syria in retaliation for an apparent chemical weapons strike last weekend in the Syrian town of Douma that left dozens of people dead.
It was the second strike that Trump has authorized in response to such an attack, after ordering a strike on a Syrian air base last year following a chemical weapons attack that also left dozens of people dead.
“These are not the actions of a man; they are crimes of a monster instead,” Trump said during a televised address late Friday from the White House, blasting Assad.