Britain ready for military action in days as cabinet supports May

US UK and France launch missile strikes on Syria

"Cabinet agreed on the need to take action to alleviate humanitarian distress and to deter the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime", a spokeswoman for the prime minister said in a statement after the meeting.

Theresa May received unanimous cabinet backing for United Kingdom military action against Syrian regime targets after senior ministers were briefed by Sir Mark Sedwill, the national security adviser, on the intelligence case pointing to President Assad's culpability for the Douma attack.

She declined to say whether Bashar al-Assad should stay in power and said talks with allies would continue on finding a political solution to the civil war. A YouGov poll showed just one in five members of the public support a strike on Syria. She told her senior ministers on Thursday the Douma events showed a "deeply concerning" erosion of worldwide legal norms barring the use of chemical weapons.

Corbyn has said any action in Syria should be put to a parliamentary vote.

"This is the first time as prime minister that I have had to take the decision to commit our armed forces in combat - and it is not a decision I have taken lightly".

She added that she would address parliament on Monday.

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At the same time, Stoltenberg expressed his conviction that those responsible for chemical attacks must be held to account. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the strikes were about making sure chemical weapons can not be used with impunity.

In her comments, May also alluded to a nerve agent attack in Britain last month on a former Russian spy and his daughter. I have repeatedly expressed my deep disappointment that the Security Council failed to agree on a dedicated mechanism for effective accountability for the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Britain has blamed Russian Federation for the poisoning - a charge vehemently denied by Moscow which has accused London of failing to come up with evidence for its claims.

Four Royal Air Force Tornado jets from the Akrotiri base in Cyprus fired Storm Shadow missiles at a military facility near Homs where it was assessed that Syria had stockpiled chemicals, Britain's Ministry of Defence said.

Williamson told BBC radio that all British crews returned safely and early indications were that the strikes had been "highly successful".

United Nations war crimes investigators on Friday condemned the suspected use of chemical weapons in the Syrian town of Douma in eastern Ghouta and called for evidence to be preserved with a view to future prosecutions. The statement made no specific reference to military action.

But they backed action in Iraq the following year, and again in Syria in 2015, strictly limiting strikes to targets of the Islamic State group. "The opposition does not operate helicopters or use barrel bombs".

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