May mulls Syria action despite cautious mood in UK

16 April, 2018, 01:45 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • Syria chemical attack

It was not clear whether the presence of the investigators could affect the timing of any US military action.

"So striking at Syria is not a good solution, but doing nothing after the use of chemical weapons is even worse", he said. The Syrian government has been known to use chlorine bombs, along with sarin, a nerve agent developed by Nazi Germany that was used in a 2013 attack that killed almost 1,500 people outside of Damascus.

The rising tension over the Douma attack demonstrates the volatile nature of the Syrian civil war, which started in March 2011 as an anti-Assad uprising but is now a proxy conflict involving a number of world and regional powers and a myriad of insurgent groups.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said Thursday President Donald Trump has yet to decide on whether he will pursue military action in Syria.

Prime Minister Theresa May was holding an emergency cabinet to discuss joining mooted strikes by the USA and allies, as rival politicians and some Conservative colleagues called for a parliamentary vote before any British involvement.

The drumbeat of military action appeared to grow louder, as Russian Federation stonewalled diplomatic efforts at the United Nations and France declared "proof" that Moscow's Syrian ally carried out a deadly chemical weapons attack that killed more than 40 Syrians.

President Trump says he'll make a decision "fairly soon" on whether to launch a missile attack on Syria.

The UK Cabinet agreed at a meeting on Thursday that Syrian President Bashar Assad's government was highly likely responsible for the alleged chemical attack and that Prime Minister Theresa May should coordinate the response to the incident with the United States and France.


But rival politicians and some Conservative colleagues have called for a parliamentary vote before any British involvement.

France already has some 1,100 troops involved in its Operation Chammal, created in 2014 to fight Islamic State extremists in Iraq and extended in 2015 to Syria, as part of the USA -led coalition. 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 statement made no reference to whether Parliament would be given a say on military action - prompting renewed concerns among opposition parties and some Tory MPs that Mrs May is prepared to go ahead without a Commons vote. The Downing Street statement did not mention parliament, and a spokeswoman did not comment on those reports.

British lawmakers voted down taking military against Damascus in 2013, in what was widely viewed as an assertion of parliamentary sovereignty on the use of force.

The Times reports that "the largest USA air and naval strike force since the 2003 Iraq war" is now heading towards Syria, and that US-led strikes are expected to begin "within the next three days". A YouGov poll showed just one in five members of the public support a strike on Syria.

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.

Mattis' remarks at a House Armed Services Committee hearing followed a series of Trump tweets this week that initially indicated he was committed to bombing Syria but later suggested he was awaiting further advice and assessment.

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