Damascus, Moscow Say U.S. Action in Syria without Consent would be 'Aggression'إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
U.S. air strikes on Syrian territory without permission from the government in Damascus would be an "attack" on the country, a Syrian minister said Thursday.
"Any action of any kind without the consent of the Syrian government would be an attack on Syria," National Reconciliation Minister Ali Haidar said when asked about U.S. plans to widen its operations against Islamic State (IS) jihadists with air strikes on Syrian territory.
Haidar refused to be drawn on what response Syrian might have to any unilateral U.S. military action on the country's territory.
"But under international law there must be cooperation and cooperation with Syria and Syrian consent for any action, whether military or non-military on Syrian territory," he added.
His comments followed a speech in which U.S. President Barack Obama pledged a "relentless" war against IS, including air strikes in Syria and support for Syrian rebels.
Syria's government, engaged in a war against rebels seeking to overthrow it, has tried to present itself as a partner for the international community in the fight against IS and radical jihadists
But Washington backs the rebels and has made it clear it will not cooperate with President Bashar Assad's government against IS.
Earlier on Thursday, Russia said that unilateral U.S. airstrikes on jihadists in Syria would be a crude violation of international law.
"The U.S. President has directly announced the possibility of strikes by American armed forces against positions of the Islamic State in Syria without the consent of its legal government," said Alexander Lukashevich, a spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry.
"In the absence of an appropriate decision of the U.N. Security Council, such a step would become an act of aggression, a crude violation of the norms of international law," Lukashevich said in televised remarks.
Lukashevich said Moscow welcomed the fact that Washington had acknowledged the threat from the radical Islamists.
"Better late than never, as they say," he said.
But he accused the United States of "double standards" over its support for the opposition in Syria.
"While on the one hand helping the Iraq government to confront Islamist militants, Obama is once more asking Congress for 500 million dollars to support the Syrian armed opposition, which as a whole is little different from the radicals in the Islamic State," Lukashevich said.
Later on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry labeled as laughable Russian claims that a U.S. campaign against the IS is unilateral and violates international law.
"I must say if it weren't so serious what's happening in Ukraine one might almost laugh at the idea of Russia raising the issue of international law or any question of the U.N.," Kerry told reporters.
He spoke at the end of a meeting in Saudi Arabia, at which 10 Arab states committed to do their share in the fight against IS, which seized large swathes in Iraq and Syria and committed atrocities.
"I am really rather surprised that Russia would dare to assert any notion of international law after what has happened in Crimea and eastern Ukraine," Kerry added.