Tuesday, 24 April, 2018

British opposition leader queries May's decision to join military strike against Syria

GETTYUp to four Tornado GR4 aircrafts were used in the attack GETTYUp to four Tornado GR4 aircrafts were used in the attack
Patty Aguilar | 17 April, 2018, 02:30

British Prime Minister Theresa May, facing a rowdy session of parliament on Monday, defended her decision to join US -led missile strikes against Syria without first seeking parliament's authorization.

The rush to action following an alleged chemical weapons attack on the rebel-held town of Douma on April 7 was condemned by several British opposition parties who wanted parliament recalled.

"We can not allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalized - either within Syria, on the streets of the United Kingdom or elsewhere", May told reporters in Downing Street.

May spoke in Downing Street in the hours after the blitz and insisted the action was a limited and targeted strike to degrade and deter the Syrian government.

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

Philippe told lawmakers that France's "riposte" was "proportionate" and sent a strong, clear message to dissuade Syria's government from using chemical weapons.

Mrs May said chemical weapons had all too often been used in recent times.

"We have done it because we believe it was the right thing to do - and we are not alone".

The airstrikes on Syria were carried out in a joint operation between the UK, US and France. Speaking on LBC, he said on Sunday: "Theresa May tells us in her speech that we're doing this in our national interest".

A source close to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has described the Prime Minister's announcement of an emergency debate as "very odd, panicky and weak".

But she avoided answering questions on her future strategy for Syria, on whether parliament would be consulted on any further strikes and ignored demands by Corbyn for a War Powers Act to limit the government's power to launch military action.

Four Tornado jets from the Akrotiri base in Cyprus fired eight missiles at a military facility near Homs where it was assessed that Syria had stockpiled chemicals, the Ministry of Defence said.

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The Prime Minister is expected to face anger in the Commons after launching military action without securing the support of Parliament.

It is thought President Bashar al-Assad's regime had been stockpiling materials used to make chemical weapons there, it said.

"But I believe it should also be a message to others that the global community is not going to stand by and allow chemical weapons to be used with impunity".

"The three leaders agreed that the military strikes taken against the Syrian Regime's chemical weapons sites had been a success", a No 10 spokesman said.

Since 2013 neither diplomatic action, tough sanctions, nor the U.S. strikes against the Shayrat airbase in April 2017 have sufficiently degraded Syrian chemical weapons capability or deterred the Syrian regime from causing extreme humanitarian distress on a large scale through its persistent use of chemical weapons, it said.

Another Labour MP, Hilary Benn, asked for an assurance from May that if there was a further chemical weapons attack in Syria, "she will come to parliament first, she will share such evidence as she can with us as she has today, and that she will trust parliament to decide what is to be done".

The action was the minimum judged necessary for that objective.

However, there have been plenty of MPs, including some Conservatives opposed to action in 2013, who have publicly backed the prime minister. In the morning, he tweeted: "Mission accomplished".

"Since this was blocked by Russian Federation there was no other alternative than to react the way they reacted at this time".

"There is no more serious issue than the life and death matters of military action".

Moscow's ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov warned that such actions will not be left without consequences.

By morning, the Western countries said their bombing was over for now.

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