(Reuters) Turkey views the U.S. missile strike against a Syrian air base positively and the international community should sustain its stance against the “barbarity” of the Syrian government, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Friday.
In an interview with Turkish broadcaster Fox TV, Kurtulmus said the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must be fully punished in the international arena and that the peace process in Syria needed to be accelerated.
“As our president clearly said, we want to see action not just words. In this sense the USA striking the military base there is … significant, important,” Kurtulmus said.
“But the international community must clearly sustain its stance against the barbarity of the Assad regime until it can no longer harm the people,” he said.
Turkey, a NATO member key to the U.S.-led fight against Islamic State in Syria, has long called for Assad’s removal, saying there can be no peace in Syria while he remains in power.
Erdogan was quoted late on Thursday, before the U.S. missile strike, as saying Turkey would welcome U.S. military action in Syria and would be ready to assist if needed.
In a sharp escalation of the U.S. military role in Syria, two U.S. warships fired dozens of cruise missiles from the eastern Mediterranean Sea at the airbase controlled by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in response to the poison gas attack in a rebel-held area on Tuesday, U.S. officials said.