UK PM May ready to confirm military intervention into Syria

Adjust Comment Print

British Prime Minister Theresa May is ready to give the go-ahead for Britain to take part in military action in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria, the BBC reported on Wednesday. On Thursday, Trump tweeted that an attack "could be very soon or not so soon at all!"

The government said it is "highly likely" that Assad is responsible for the Douma attack, with ministers agreeing "it was vital that the use of chemical weapons did not go unchallenged".

Despite having declared on Monday he would make "major decisions" on a USA response to the Douma attack within 48 hours, Mr Trump has now downplayed the prospect of immediate action.

She said that she would continue to work with Britain's "closest allies" - the United States and France - to ensure that those responsible for the "barbaric" attack were held to account.

"Following a discussion in which every member present made a contribution, Cabinet agreed it was vital that the use of chemical weapons did not go unchallenged", the statement said.

May's Cabinet met for over two hours in Downing Street before coming to a final agreement.

This afternoon Cabinet met and received an update on the attack against innocent civilians in Douma, Syria, on Saturday.

The attack was first reported by Syrian rebel group Jaish al-Islam on Saturday.

Royal Navy submarines have already been ordered into range to launch Tomahawk cruise missile strikes as early as Thursday night, according to reports. "The use of chemical weapons can not go unchallenged". Inspectors with the global chemical weapons watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, are due to investigate the incident.

May would not seek prior parliamentary approval because she favoured taking action soon, the BBC said without citing its sources. May isn't legally required to do that, though it has become conventional since the 2003 invasion of Iraq for lawmakers to be given the chance to vote before British forces are deployed.

The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, also speaking earlier on Wednesday, said parliament should be given a say on any military action May wants to take. Just imagine the scenario if an American missile shoots down a Russian plane or vice versa.

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

A YouGov poll in The Times conducted this week found that 43% of voters oppose strikes in Syria, with 34% unsure and only 22% supportive.

Britain is now part of a US-led coalition conducting air strikes against jihadists from the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq and Syria, and has conducted more than 1,700 such attacks.

Following a suspected chemical attack in Douma, Syria believed to have been carried out by the Assad government, Trump reacted angrily - warning Russian Federation to "get ready" because a missile strike is coming.

The war plans of British leaders have been complicated in recent years by the memory of Britain's 2003 decision to invade Iraq after asserting - wrongly, as it later turned out - that President Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.