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An unidentified US Navy destroyer launching missiles at a Syrian government air base. Video: TheMozzextras

By Colin Packham in Sydney

Indonesia and Iran have condemned a United States strike on a Syrian air base on Friday while Britain, Australia and New Zealand gave their support, with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull describing it as a “proportionate and calibrated response” to the use of chemical weapons.

US President Donald Trump ordered missile strikes against a Syrian airfield from which a deadly chemical weapons attack was launched, declaring he acted in America’s “vital national security interest”.

In a sharp escalation of the US military role in Syria, two US warships fired dozens of cruise missiles from the eastern Mediterranean Sea at the air base controlled by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in response to the poison gas attack in a rebel-held area on Tuesday, US officials said.

In Wellingon, reports Dr Vernon Small of Fairfax Media, New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English backed the US military action with “understanding”, providing it was “proportionate”.

Ministers in New Zealand were given about two hours notice of the United States’ missile attack on the Syrian air base at al-Shayrat on Thursday, taken in response to a nerve gas attack on civilians.


English said the “horrific attacks” using chemical weapons were against all international law.

The United Nations Association of Canada called a halt to the bombing and offered a raft of protest actions.

Tomahawk attack
The Trump administration launched 60 Cruise Tomahawk missiles from its offshore Mediterranean warships in the attack on Syria’s al-Shayrat military airfield near Homs, Syria’s third largest city.

The US strikes obliterated substantial portions of Syria’s military capacity there.

Trump’s action came a day after Democrat Hillary Clinton urged the US bombing of Syria.

Neither Trump nor any other US government agency presented a shed of proof that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used sarin nerve gas in its bombing of ISIS, Al Qaida or any other “rebel” groups in Syria’s Idlib province, said the UNAC statement.

President Assad denied using sarin gas while “Russia’s Defense Ministry”, according to the The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingsdom, has stated that the chemicals were released when a Syrian aircraft bombed a “rebel” arm storage facility.