What should Canada's response be to airstrikes in Syria?

The best way for Canada to respond to airstrikes in Syria is to continue pushing for a resolution behind the scenes, according to a former government national security issues analyst.

More than 40 people killed and 500 injured after apparent poison gas attack

Damascus sky lights up with service to air missile fire as the U.S. launches an attack on Syria targeting different parts of the Syrian capital Damascus, Syria, early Saturday, April 14, 2018. (Hassan Ammar/Associated Press)
Listen7:51

The best way for Canada to respond to airstrikes in Syria is to continue pushing for a resolution behind the scenes, according to a former government national security issues analyst.

"Canada needs to basically continue what it has been doing, to a large extent working behind the scenes, trying to push the different parties together, basically working to reassert the chemical weapons norms and of course stand with our allies," Stephanie Carvin, now a professor at Carleton University, told host Chris Hall.  

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that Canada supports the decision by the U.S., the United Kingdom and France to bomb targets in Syria over the Assad regime's alleged use of chemical weapons.

More than 40 people were killed and 500 injured — including women and children — after poison gas was apparently used in an attack on Douma, a rebel-held enclave near the Syrian capital of Damascus, on April 7.

The Syrian government has denied responsibility and Russia has suggested Israel or Britain was to blame, supposedly to justify increased Western intervention into the war-ravaged country.

"Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons in last week's attack in eastern Ghouta, Syria," Trudeau said in a statement.

"Canada supports the decision by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France to take action to degrade the Assad regime's ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against its own people," the statement read.

Canada has always played an important role in resolving international conflicts like the current situation in Syria, Carvin said, but the government should also be prepared for retaliation from Russia.

"There could be a lot of nasty responses on this one."

While an identical response is highly unlikely, she said it would be wise to be on high alert for cyber attacks.

Carvin said missile strikes haven't worked as deterrents in the past, and other solutions will have to be examined.

"There's no good options in Syria," she said.

"Really what's going to have to happen is a comprehensive diplomatic solution."

Former national security issues analyst with the Government of Canada Stephanie Carvin discusses the latest airstrikes against Syria. 7:51
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