Britain said on Sunday that Russia bore responsibility by proxy for civilian deaths in Syria last week caused by a poison gas attack that was carried out by the Assad regime.
British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon criticized Russia’s support of Assad, describing the chemical attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun as a war crime that happened “on their watch.” Around 100 people, including many children, were killed in the attack that also left hundreds more injured.
“By proxy Russia is responsible for every civilian death last week,” Fallon, whose government voiced support for U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to target the Assad regime’s air base, wrote in the Sunday Times newspaper.
“If Russia wants to be absolved of responsibility for future attacks, Vladimir Putin needs to enforce commitments, dismantle Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal for good and get fully engaged” with the UN peace process on Syria.
“In the past few years, they have had every opportunity to pull levers and stop this civil war. Russia must show the resolve necessary to bring this regime to heel.”
The defense secretary said Syria needed a government in which Assad played no part. He acknowledged achieving that was “not easy, but not impossible”.
“By sending Tomahawk missiles to attack the airfield, aeroplanes and equipment believed to be involved, it has sent a strong signal to the Syrian regime to think twice before using gas in future,” Fallon added.
“Justified and appropriate though US action was, it was also necessarily limited. We now need a long-term solution to this conflict.”
Sir Michael said that Assad must depart and the search for stability begin.
“Someone who uses barrel bombs and chemicals to kill his own people simply cannot be the future leader of Syria,” Fallon stated. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)