Syria warns against foreign intervention after Obama speech on Islamic State

"Any action of any type without the approval of Syrian government is an aggression against Syria," says Syrian minister.

September 11, 2014 16:22
1 minute read.
Bashar Al-Assad

Bashar Al-Assad. (photo credit: REUTERS)

DAMASCUS - Any foreign intervention in Syria would be an act of aggression unless it is approved by Damascus, a Syrian government minister said on Thursday, after the United States said it was prepared to strike against Islamic State militants in the country.

"Any action of any type without the approval of Syrian government is an aggression against Syria," Ali Haidar, Minister of National Reconciliation Affairs, told reporters in Damascus.

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"There must be cooperation with Syria and coordination with Syria and there must be a Syrian approval of any action whether it is military or not," he said.

On Wednesday night, US President Barack Obama announced his intention to strike the Islamic State "wherever they are" in an historic address to the American people, preparing the nation for broad, borderless military conflict in the Middle East.

"We will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists," Obama said from the White House. "I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL [Islamic State] in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven."

In a fifteen-minute address, the president said the US would fight the group – which has conquered territories in eastern Syria and northern Iraq, and has threatened the United States – "relentlessly."

Meanwhile on Thursday, the foreign ministers of Germany and Britain said they would not be taking part in air strikes in Syria against the Islamic State militant group.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told a news conference in Berlin that Germany has not been asked to take part in the air strikes and would not be participating. "To quite clear, we have not been asked to do so and neither will we do so," Steinmeier said.

His British counterpart Philip Hammond said Britain "supports entirely the US approach of developing an international coalition" against the Islamic State, whom he described as "barbaric", and said that in terms of how to help such a coalition "we have ruled nothing out".

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