Australian forces have played no part in the joint US, British and French strikes against the Assad regime in Syria, the government has confirmed.
Defence Minister Marise Payne spoke to US Secretary of Defence James Mattis on Saturday morning for a briefing on the three targets of the strike but assured reporters no request for support had been made.
“It has reduced the regime’s ability to use chemical weapons in the future and sends a clear and strong message that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated by the international community,” Ms Payne told reporters in Sydney.
“I can confirm that there was no Australian involvement in the strike. Australia’s mission in Iraq and Syria is the defeat of Daesh.”
The strikes come in response to further reports of the indiscriminate use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad last week.
The joint strikes targeted the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons research, development, and production capabilities.
“These strikes are not seeking to escalate the conflict in Syria, but these violations of international law and norms cannot be allowed to continue,” Ms Payne said.
The US has confirmed they struck three targets: a scientific research centre near Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs and a chemical weapons facility serving as a command post.
Locations were chosen specifically to minimise the risk to civilians, Ms Payne said.