Missile attack on Syria strategic mistake of US: Imam Khamenei

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said the missile attack on Al-Shayrat Airbase in Syria's Homs province was a strategic mistake typical of the US administrations.

"What Americans did was a strategic mistake, and they are repeating the same mistakes done by their predecessors," the leader said at a meeting with senior Iranian Armed Forces commanders in Tehran on Sunday.

He further blasted Washington officials for sponsoring terrorism in the region, saying that "former US officials created ISIS or helped it, and present officials are reinvigorating ISIS and similar groups".

Imam Khamenei cautioned the US against an instrumental use of terrorism, saying that the same groups would pose grave dangers to the US in future. "Europe is entangled with the mistake that it committed by strengthening the Takfiris and people are not secure at home and in the streets (in there), and the US is repeating the same mistake."

Elsewhere, he dismissed allegations and analyses that the US attack on Syria was a pulse to other actors in the region, saying that violence, aggression and crime is typical of the White House officials, but Americans do not dare to conduct a similar move in all countries.

"The Islamic Republic has shown that it doesn't back off under the influence of such irrelevant statements and wrong deeds, and the people and officials who hold belief in the revolution do not step back when faced with threats, ....," the Iranian Supreme Leader reiterated.

On Thursday night, the United States launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian military airfield in al-Shayrat, located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the city of Homs. US President Donald Trump said the attack was a response to the alleged chemical weapon use in Syria's Idlib on Tuesday, which Washington blames on the Syrian government.

Russia described the attack as an aggression against a sovereign state. Following the US military action, Russia decided to suspend its memorandum of understanding on air safety over Syria with the United States, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Syrian opposition claimed Tuesday forces loyal to President Bashar Assad had used a chemical gas on people in the Northwestern province, killing nearly 80 and injuring 200. Assad argued his government has no chemical weapons after agreeing to have them destroyed in 2013. He also ruled out having used chemicals against own people.

Earlier today, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri in a phone conversation with his Syrian counterpart General Ali Ayyoub conferred on the US missile attack.

During the conversation on Sunday, General Baqeri condemned the US strike, and described it as a violation of the international laws and a clear aggression against an independent country.

He also referred to the chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun region of Idlib province as a suspicious plot against the Syrian government and nation, and said an impartial international group should scrutinize and investigate the issue and find the culprits behind it.

General Baqeri warned that the White House and its allies are attempting to reinvigorate the terrorists, and added, "The Islamic Republic of Iran's nation and Armed Forces see support for the Syrian resistance and those who fight against the Takfiri terrorists that are supported by the arrogant powers as an honor and rest assured that the Syrian government and nation will finally achieve victory against the terrorists."

Also, General Baqeri and his Russian counterpart Valery Vasilevich Gerasimov in a phone conversation on Saturday blasted the US cruise missile attacks on the strategic airbase in Syria.

"Fight against terrorism will continue unabated nevertheless; the chemical episode was suspect and we believe an independent fact-finding committee should look into the issue and provide clear information as to the perpetrators of the horrible act," the top Iranian and Russian generals underlined over the phone.

Both sides condemned the US action as blatant violation of the territorial integrity of a sovereign nation which sought to hit the collective will of Iran and Russia in successfully bringing about stability in the country and to provide leverage to terrorist groups who had been in their zenith on the ground in Syria.

A number of other Iranian officials, including President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, have contacted their counterparts in Syria and Russia to discuss further moves against the US strikes.

Meantime, The Syria-Iran-Russia joint operations room in charge of war strategy and coordination in Syria warned in a statement issued on Sunday afternoon that any fresh aggression by Washington against Syria will be given a lethal response.

"We will respond to any aggression powerfully, as Russia and Iran would never allow the US to dominate the world," the statement said.

Describing the recent US missile strikes as yet "another miscalculation" by Washington, the statement said, "We believe that the events (chemical weaopns use) in Khan Sheikhoun have been plotted by certain states and bodies to be used as a pretext to attack Syria."




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