Friday, 06 December, 2019


Syrian air strikes: Read Donald Trump and Theresa May's statements in full

Syrian air strikes: Read Donald Trump and Theresa May's statements in full Syrian air strikes: Read Donald Trump and Theresa May's statements in full
Bennie Garza | 16 April, 2018, 23:19

The Douma attack has drawn global outrage which has seen Theresa May and Mr Trump agree that the use of chemical weapons must not go unchallenged after the Prime Minister won the backing of her Cabinet for action to prevent their further use in Syria.

Ian Blackford, who heads the Scottish National Party group in Parliament, said May "presides over a minority government that has no majority or mandate for military action, and there must be no attempt to bypass Parliament".

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

But May said intelligence pointed to the Syrian government being behind the suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma last Saturday, and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said speed was "essential".

She will repeat Saturday's assertion that Britain was "confident in our own assessment that the Syrian regime was highly likely responsible" and that it could not wait "to alleviate further humanitarian suffering caused by chemical weapons attacks", according to excerpts of her speech.

Mrs May declined to say whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should stay in power and said talks with allies would continue on finding a political solution to the civil war.

"I have done so because I judge this action to be in Britain's national interest", she added.

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"Our service personnel have played an important role in terms of degrading the ability of the Syrian regime to use chemical weapons in the future", Williamson said.

Polls in recent days have shown public wariness of military intervention in Syria, with Britain still haunted by its participation in the US-led invasion of Iraq.

May spoke with US President Trump Thursday night about the worldwide response to Syria, and they "agreed that the Assad regime had established a pattern of unsafe behavior in relation to the use of chemical weapons", according to a Downing Street statement.

British Prime Minister Theresa May's senior ministers agreed on the need for action at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, but Downing Street did not specify what measures the United Kingdom would take.

These missile strikes were coordinated by the U.S., France and the U.K.in response to an alleged chemical attack by the Syrian government in Douma last week.

Russian Federation has blocked moves for a United Nations investigation into the Douma attack and even made the "grotesque and absurd claim that it was staged by Britain", May said.

May later told reporters in her Downing Street office that the Western missiles struck a chemical weapons storage and production facility, a chemical weapons research center and a military bunker involved in chemical weapons attacks.

Formally, the prime minister has the right to go to war without approval from parliament, but a convention has been established in previous conflicts where MPs have a vote either before or shortly after military action begins.

Jeremy Corbyn called it "legally questionable" in a letter to May.

But she will also ask for an emergency debate to allow more time for discussion in a nod to the fury among MPs at not being consulted.

At the press conference, May outlined the intelligence that led Britain to join the USA and France in launching more than 100 missiles against Syrian government targets overnight.

The U.S. has about 2,000 troops on the ground in Syria as advisers to a makeshift group of anti-Islamic State fighters known as the Syrian Democratic Forces.

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