The Arab League has demanded an international probe into a chemical weapons attack but stopped short of supporting strikes. They further criticized Iran for its role in the Syrian conflict.
The Arab League — minus Syria and Qatar — said after its summit on Sunday that the "criminal" use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime had to be investigated. It further condemned the government of Iran for ignoring the sovereignty of other countries.
"We stress our absolute condemnation of the use of chemical weapons against the sisterly Syrian people and we demand an independent international investigation to guarantee the application of international law to everyone proven to use chemical weapons," the group said in a statement.
In an opening speech, Saudi Arabia's King Salman also criticized Iran's "blatant interference in other countries." Iran is an ally of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and has been waging a proxy war in Yemen against Riyadh.
Salman slams Trump
The summit was held in Saudi Arabia, which has expressed support for the recent missile strikes launched on Syrian weapons facilities by the US, UK and France. Other league members, such as Iraq and Lebanon, had condemned the strikes.
Despite being a strong ally of Washington, King Salman also took the opportunity to slam US President Donald Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
"We reiterate our rejection of the US decision on Jerusalem," Salman said. "East Jerusalem is an integral part of the Palestinian territories."
The Arab League was founded in 1945 to protect newly won independence throughout the region. Founding member Syria has been suspended since 2011 over its failure to stop the bloodshed that began during its brutal crackdown on what were then just pro-democracy protests. An empty seat labeled "Syrian Arab Republic"
Qatar did not attend due to an ongoing diplomatic crisis centered on Doha and Riyadh's struggle with one another for regional influence.
es/aw (AFP, Reuters)