May says Syria strikes send 'clear message' on chemical weapons

Weapons the US UK and France used to target Syria

Ford Williams U.S. Navy via Getty Images

In attacks alongside USA and French allies on Saturday, four British Tornado jets fired Storm Shadow missiles at a Syrian military base suspected of holding chemical weapons ingredients.

Prime Minister Theresa May said the "limited and targeted strike" was part of joint action with France and the United States in response to Syria's latest alleged chemical weapons atrocity.

"There is no proposal on the table at the moment for further attacks because so far, thank heavens, the Assad regime have not been so foolish as to launch another chemical weapons attack", he told the Andrew Marr show.

Corbyn later wrote to May seeking assurance that there would be no further bombing raids and urged the government to negotiate a pause in the Syrian civil war. "It is not about regime change".

US President Donald Trump confirmed "precision strikes" had been ordered on targets associated with the Syrian government's chemical weapons programme.

Asked why she had proceeded without consulting parliament, May cited operational security consideration.

Last week almost 75 people were killed in Douma after the Bashar's regime launched a poisonous gas attack in the region.

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

May referred to last month's nerve agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury, which Britain has blamed on Russian Federation.

"It was right to take the action that we have done in the timing that we have done", she said.

Britain's Ministry of Defence said Four Royal Air Force Tornado jets from the Akrotiri base in Cyprus were used to fire Storm Shadow missiles at a military facility believed to have stored chemical weapons near Homs.

"Very careful scientific analysis was applied to determine where best to target the Storm Shadows to maximize the destruction of the stockpiled chemicals and to minimize any risks of contamination to the surrounding area", the MoD said in a statement.

"So there is no practicable alternative to the use of force to degrade and deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime".

But the prime minister may not find such backing when she faces parliament on Monday, where some lawmakers are angry that May took military action without their approval - a process that has increasingly become a tradition in Britain.

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He argued bilateral deals offered better terms for USA businesses and workers, and signaled an intention to raise trade barriers. An official there said the facility was used by the chemical and pharmaceutical industries and helped develop cancer drugs.

Parliament is not due to reconvene until Monday, following its Easter recess.

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

Meanwhile, Britain's main opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described the USA -led military strikes on Syria jointly staged by three leading Western countries as a "legally questionable action", saying that the British government should "not taking instructions from Washington".

"This legally questionable action risks escalating further, as U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has admitted, an already devastating conflict and, therefore, makes real accountability for war crimes and use of chemical weapons less, not more likely".

Other opposition leaders joined in the criticism.

"This action risks not just further escalating the civil war in Syria but also a unsafe escalation of worldwide tensions", said the leader of the left-wing Scottish National Party, the third-biggest force in the British parliament.

Russian Federation warns of consequences after US-led strikes on Syria
Putin spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday and urged him to do nothing to destabilise Syria . The United Nations called an emergency meeting with world leaders to discuss how to handle the crisis in Syria .

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