Justin Trudeau says Canada won’t be part of military action in Syria
While the Prime Minister’s Office did not provide an original statement to Global News, it forwarded a translated excerpt of comments Trudeau made to Radio-Canada earlier this week.
“We are not looking to be present in Syria,” Trudeau said in the interview.
The prime minister explained that Canada is already engaged in the fight against the Islamic State in northern Iraq, and in operations in Mali and Latvia.
“But we are providing humanitarian aid,” Trudeau said of Syria. “We are working diplomatically and politically to try to find solutions.”
WATCH: Suspected chemical attack kills at least 40 in Syria
“Certainly, it’s a potential conflict zone that could grow and affect other countries, but we continue to work with our partners.”
The decision to abstain from military engagement in Syria comes as several other world leaders are mulling what action they will take.
Among them is U.S. President Donald Trump, who promised a military response amid reports that the Syrian army used chemical weapons in an attack last week on the city of Douma.
WATCH: Trump says decision will be made on Syria soon
On Wednesday, he tweeted that missiles “will be coming.”
But a day later, he seemed less certain.
Trump said that an attack on Syria could take place “very soon or not so soon at all,” arguing he had never signaled the timing of retaliation.
French President Emmanuel Macron also said France had proof the Syrian government carried out the chemical attack. Macron added that the country is deciding whether it will strike Syria.
“We will need to take decisions in due course, when we judge it most useful and effective,” Macron told broadcaster TF1.
British Prime Minister Theresa May made similar comments this week, saying Britain would weigh its options on military intervention.
WATCH: Syrian- Canadian medical aid volunteer reacts to chemical weapons attack
But the decision is complicated, as Syria has its own supporters — namely Russia and Iran — who deny all reports of a chemical attack.
While Canada won’t be partaking in any possible military action alongside its allies, officials have condemned the attack.
“Canada is appalled by the reported use of chemical weapons against people in eastern Ghouta, in Syria, on April 7, 2018, resulting in dozens of fatalities,” a statement from Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said.
“Our hearts go out to those who have lost family and loved ones.”
WATCH: Victims of suspected gas attack in Syria hosed down as Damascus denies
Sunday’s statement from Freeland added that the use of chemical weapons is a “war crime.”
“Canada, alongside its international partners, will pursue accountability for these atrocities by all available means,” it read.
— With files from Reuters, The Associated Press
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