Turnbull Government told of missile attack before launch
PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull has revealed the Australian Government was told of US plans to launch a missile attack against Syria moments before the launch.
Addressing the media in Sydney this afternoon the PM labelled gas attacks by the Syrian regime as abhorrent and voiced strong support for the actions of the US Government.
"The affect of the American response has been to reduce the ability of the Syrian Government to deliver chemical weapons in the shocking manner in which they did a few days ago," Mr Turnbull said.
"The United States advised us as a coalition partner shortly prior to the attack."
He went on to describe the missile strike as "a calibrated, proportionate and targeted response" to the Assad regime's gas attacks earlier in the week.
"The use of these weapons, under any circumstance, is illegal and abhorrent. It is a violation of international law. It is a war crime. It is a blatant contravention of basic principles of humanity," Mr Turnbull said of Assad regime's actions.
"These crimes against humanity, shocking and horrific even in th econtext of the Syrian conflict zone, cannot be committed with impunity.
"The perpetrators must be held to account. We have called on the security council to address this matter as soon as possible.
"Regrettably, as we have seen, the security council is once again at animpasse due to the position of the Assad regime supporter, Russia."
Defence Minister Marise Payne then explained she was told about the attack before the launch.
"I spoke with secretary of defence James Mattis this morning before I left New Zealand," she said.
"I was attending the south Pacific defence ministers meeting.
"He advised me of the US' intention to carry out this operation. Australia, as the Prime Minister has said, absolutely condemns and deplores the horrific attack on citizens in Idlib earlier this week.
"The United States targeted strike today, which the Australian Government supports, was designed to limit the regime's ability to conduct further chemical weapons attacks against its own people.
"The highly targeted strike was intended to prevent and deter a recurrence of this event."