READ: UK Prime Minister Theresa May's statement on Syria strikes

16 April, 2018, 22:26 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Theresa May

British Prime Minister Theresa May summoned her senior ministers to a special cabinet meeting on Thursday to discuss joining the United States and France in possible military action against Syria after a suspected poison gas attack on civilians.

"Germany will not take part in possible - there have not been any decisions yet, I want to stress that - military action", she said after meeting Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen in Berlin on Thursday.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said Russian experts have inspected the site of the alleged attack in Douma, just east of Damascus, and found no trace of chemical weapons.

In the call, the two leaders had agreed that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "had established a pattern of risky behaviour in relation to the use of chemical weapons", Downing Street said.

Mrs May will make the statement explaining why she ordered British cruise missile strikes and will then take questions from MPs.

The Syrian regime has a history of using chemical weapons against its own people in the most cruel and abhorrent way.

Despite winning global backing, May, who has weathered questions over her leadership due to Brexit and party scandals, has a precarious position in parliament after losing the Conservatives' majority in an ill-judged election in June.

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

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.

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 Defense said.

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"This legally questionable action risks escalating further.an already devastating conflict", he said, adding that May should have sought parliamentary approval.

May said while the strike was targeted at Syria, it sent a message to anyone who used chemical weapons.

"The goal of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons", Trump said.

The U.S., France and Britain have been consulting about launching a military strike within days, and President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that missiles "will be coming".

The Prime Minister also warned Russian Federation that the air strikes should act as a warning over its use of chemical weapons.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, has questioned the legal basis for Britain's involvement.

Parliament voted down British military action against Assad's government in 2013, in an embarrassment for May's predecessor, David Cameron.

May is not obliged to win parliament's approval before ordering military action, but a non-binding constitutional convention to do so has been established since a 2003 vote on joining the US -led invasion of Iraq.

Ministers have said it is "highly likely" Assad's regime was responsible for the attack on Saturday on the rebel-held town of Douma which reportedly left dozens dead and that there was agreement around the Cabinet table that such actions should not go "unchallenged".

Lawmakers backed action in Iraq in 2014, and again in Syria in 2015, strictly limiting strikes in both countries to targets of the Islamic State jihadist group.

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