United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday urged countries to uphold international law as the Security Council met to discuss military strikes carried out by the United States, France and Britain on Syria.
Russia circulated a draft resolution calling for condemnation of the military action, but Britain’s ambassador said the strikes were “both right and legal” to alleviate humanitarian suffering in Syria.
The United States, Britain and France took military action in response to an alleged chemical attack in the rebel-held town of Douma a week ago that killed at least 40 people.
Addressing the council, Guterres said: “At this critical juncture, I call on all member states to act consistently with the charter of the United Nations and with international law, including the norms against chemical weapons.”
Air strikes by the three allies on Saturday hit three targets that Western officials said were linked to chemical weapons development in the Damascus and Homs areas.
Britain’s UN ambassador Karen Pierce defended military action against Syria, saying it was “both right and legal” to launch strikes to alleviate humanitarian suffering.
The United States, Britain and France have argued that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces had used toxic gases multiple times in violation of international law.
Guterres renewed his call for an investigation to identify the perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks after Russia this week vetoed a US proposal to create such a mechanism.