Britain Joins France And US In Air Strikes In Syria

Britain had no choice but to conduct missile strikes against Syria: Theresa May

Britain launched cruise missiles as part of the co-ordinated military operation with the United States and France in response to the chemical weapons attack in Douma one week ago.

Volunteer first responders and activists said a chemical attack by the Syrian government killed more than 40 people in the town of Douma, which drew worldwide outrage and prompted Washington and its allies to consider a military response.

In Britain, opposition is building up to any British involvement in military strikes in Syria, particularly without the issue being taken to Parliament first.

Mr Trump said the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons on Douma was a "significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very awful regime". It is thought President Bashar al-Assad's regime had been stockpiling materials used to make chemical weapons there, it said.

Mrs May is due to give a Commons statement this Monday before facing questions from MPs.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he would decide whether to strike Syrian government targets after the reported attack by internationally banned chemical munitions in Douma once all the necessary information had been gathered.

Some MPs have backed Britain acting against Syria, warning that the use of chemical weapons was in breach of global law and could not be allowed to go unpunished.

Corbyn has written to May seeking assurance that there would be no further bombing raids and urged the government to negotiate a pause in the Syrian civil war.

Theresa May also said it had been "right and legal" to take action.

This time, May's promise that it was a limited action that has ended, added to their dislike for Corbyn's position, could keep more of them in place.

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Russia's ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko said The White Helmets, a group of humanitarian volunteers, are supported by the British Government and are "famous for staging fake chemical attacks".

There was no indication following the meeting of the timing or scale of any action.

Looking drawn as she spoke to reporters in Downing Street in a hastily arranged press conference, she said: "We can not allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised - either within Syria, on the streets of the United Kingdom or elsewhere".

May has not confirmed whether Britain will participate directly but said "the continued use of chemical weapons can not go unchallenged". "But our efforts have been repeatedly thwarted" by Syria and Russian Federation, she said.

Mr Trump appeared to row back from a suggestion on Wednesday that missile strikes were imminent, insisting in his latest tweet that he had never set out a timetable for military action.

Despite her careful language, there was immediate criticism from opposition lawmakers who said May should have consulted parliament before joining US-led action in Syria.

Ms May recalled ministers from their Easter holiday to debate action over what she has cast as a barbaric poison gas attack by Syrian government forces on civilians in the formerly rebel-controlled town of Douma, just east of the capital Damascus.

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.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron lost a parliamentary vote on air strikes against Assad's forces in 2013 when 30 Conservative lawmakers voted against action, with many Britons wary of entering another conflict after intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya failed to bring stability to the region.

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