WORLD LEADERS were divided in their reaction to US missile strikes on a Syrian airbase yesterday that killed at least nine people, while Thai observers said it was premature to predict any real upward impact of the action on oil prices and the energy market.
Although global crude oil prices jumped after the US attack in Syria, it had not yet affected retail gas prices in Thailand, said Soraphol Tulayasthien, the Finance Ministry’s director of Economic Stability Analysis Division at Fiscal Policy Office.
“We will closely watch the situation how it will further plays out,” Soraphol said.
PTT, however, lifted its retail price by Bt 0.40 per litre yesterday.
The missile strike, in response to an apparent chemical weapons attack that killed scores of Syrian civilians, marked the first time the United States had directly attacked the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Russia and Iran, key allies of the Assad regime, condemned the US missile attacks ordered by US President Donald Trump.
The strikes were an “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international norms,” the Kremlin said in a statement. The action had “inflicted considerable damage” to already “lamentable” US-Russia ties, it added.
Iran “strongly condemned” the strike, just as it condemned “all unilateral military action”. It said the US action was taken under the “pretext” of the chemical strike.
However major powerhouses in Europe such as France, Germany and Britain backed the missile attack. In a joint statement, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Assad bore “sole responsibility” for the US strike following the suspected chemical attack.
The British government said it “fully supported” the strikes, judging them an “appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack”. It said the strikes were “intended to deter further attacks.”
European Union President Donald Tusk said the US missile strikes demonstrated “needed resolve” against chemical weapons attacks. “US strikes show needed resolve against barbaric chemical attacks,” tweeted Tusk, who represents the 28 EU member states, adding the bloc would work with the US to “end brutality” in Syria.
Nato ally Turkey welcomed the strikes as “positive”, while strong US ally |Saudi Arabia hailed Trump’s action as “courageous”.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel “fully supports” the “strong and clear message” sent by the air strikes. He added that the message should “resonate not only in Damascus, but in Tehran, Pyongyang and elsewhere”.
China, whose President Xi Jinping met Trump in Florida as the strikes were taking place, warned against “further deterioration” of the situation in Syria.
Meanwhile, should crude oil prices continue to rise due to the Syrian crisis it could lead to rises in retail prices in Thailand. World crude oil prices were at a near one-month high, with Brent crude futures up 1.5 per cent to $55.72 a barrel yesterday afternoon.