May declines to say whether Assad can stay after missile strikes

Syria news Theresa May and Putin

Tensions between Russian Federation and the West ramped up a notch yesterday as US President Donald Trump told Russian Federation to "get ready" for a missile strike on Syria, saying "they will be coming".

She said the strike was a response to significant evidence including intelligence showing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government was responsible for attack using chemical weapons in Douma in Syria last Saturday that killed up to 75 people including children.

Mrs May and President Trump spoke hours after this meeting and reiterated that the use of chemical weapons should not go unchallenged.

"We're rapidly reaching an understanding of what happened on the ground", May said.

Observers say May believes firm action must be taken against the use of chemical weapons, but she also wants to avoid a full confrontation with Parliament.

When asked if she would recall the British parliament, May declined to directly answer the question but said that she was working with allies to prevent and deter the use of chemical weapons. "It was right to take the action that we have done in the timing that we have done", she said.

"Never said when an attack on Syria would take place".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn condemned the government's involvement in the US-led strikes, saying it "makes real accountability for war crimes and use of chemical weapons less, not more likely".

Russian Federation had earlier warned Trump that there would be consequences for the US-led military strikes in Syria, adding that it was not acceptable to insult Russia's President.

Number 10 is expected to put out a summary of the advice it received later on Saturday, Downing Street sources said. "This legally questionable action risks escalating further, as U.S. defence secretary James Mattis has admitted, an already devastating conflict and therefore makes real accountability for war crimes and use of chemical weapons less, not more likely".

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Russian Federation has warned against military action and said it will shoot down rockets fired at its ally.

The result is that Mrs May would be left in the tricky position of not needing parliamentary support constitutionally, but relying on it politically.

"There can be no role now for investigations by the United Nations", Mrs May said.

She faces pressure to secure support from the Commons, which is now in recess for Easter, for involving Britain in air strikes but has the power to take the decision without the backing of MPs.

"They agreed it was vital that the use of chemical weapons did not go unchallenged, and on the need to deter the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime".

"All the indications are that the Syrian regime was responsible", May said.

General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the first was at a scientific research centre in greater Damascus, involved in the development and production of chemical warfare.

The British Government published their legal justification for the strikes on Saturday, stating that in the course of fightign the Syrian civil war "The Syrian regime has been killing its own people for seven years" and that it had used chemical weapons in "breach of the customary worldwide law prohibition on the use of chemical weapons, and amounts to a war crime and a crime against humanity".

Other strikes targeted an army depot near Homs.

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