An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council is underway over the airstrikes launched on Syria by the U.S., UK and France in retaliation for the alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his address at the meeting cautioned against the crisis in Syria “spiraling out of control.”
The overnight airstrikes in Syria spearheaded by the U.S., with support from France and the United Kingdom, targeted installations connected to the country’s chemical weapons capabilities.
In a televised address on Friday night, U.S. President Donald Trump announced the airstrikes, which were in response to last week’s suspected chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma.
They were reportedly limited to three military locations, but Guterres stated the UN was unable to verify this information or if there were any casualties.
Guterres told the Council, echoing a statement issued in the wake of the airstrikes: “As Secretary-General of the United Nations, it is my duty to remind Member States that there is an obligation, particularly when dealing with matters of peace and security, to act consistently with the Charter of the United Nations and with international law in general”.
The UN chief called on the 15 ambassadors to unite and exercise their collective role in maintaining international peace and security.
“I urge all Member States to show restraint in these dangerous circumstances and to avoid any acts that could escalate matters and worsen the suffering of the Syrian people.
“As I did yesterday, I stress the need to avoid the situation from spiraling out of control,” he further stated.
Guterres called the Syrian crisis, now in its eighth year, “the most serious threat to international peace and security.
“In Syria, we see confrontations and proxy wars involving several national armies, a number of armed opposition groups, many national and international militia, foreign fighters from everywhere in the world, and various terrorist organisations,” he said.
The Secretary-General reiterated that there was no military solution to the crisis, only a political one.