Trudeau supports U.S.-led military action after Syrian chemical attack
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his support for the joint military action by the U.S., U.K. and France against Syria announced late Friday night.
U.S. President Donald Trump was the first to announce the attack, which came a week after a chemical attack against a rebel-held territory in Syria.
“Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons in last week’s attack in eastern Ghouta, Syria,” a statement from Trudeau read.
“Canada supports the decision by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France to take action to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against its own people.
“We will continue to work with our international partners to further investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Those responsible must be brought to justice.”
WATCH: Explosions echo across Damascus following U.S. led air strikes
The Syrian government has denied responsibility for the chemical attack and Russia has suggested Britain was to blame, the latter to justify increased Western intervention into the war-ravaged country.
But Canadian officials countered this claim.
“When it comes to this use of chemical weapons, it is clear to Canada that chemical weapons were used and that they were used by the Assad regime,” Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Friday.
More than 40 people were killed and 500 injured – including women and children – after poison gas was used in an attack on Douma, a rebel-held enclave near the Syrian capital of Damascus, on April 7.
WATCH: Russia says UK led ‘staged’ chemical attack in Syria
Trudeau and Freeland made the statements on the sidelines of a major international summit in Lima, Peru, which Trump skipped last minute to deal with the Syrian situation.
Freeland, who spoke before the strikes were announced, said Canada is working with non-governmental organizations and others to collect evidence of war crimes and other atrocities in Syria.
“We have seen as a pattern in the world today is actors who behave in a reprehensible manner, then can be quite clever in trying to muddy the waters and in trying to dodge responsibility,” she added.
U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence is attending the Summit of the Americas in Trump’s stead, and is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday.
While Trump announced the “precision strikes” in Syria, Trudeau has ruled out any Canadian participation.
*with files from Global’s Rebecca Joseph and the Canadian Press’ Lee Berthiaume
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