Britain had no choice but to conduct air strikes, Theresa May says

Nellie Chapman
April 16, 2018

Prime Minister Theresa May said there was "no practicable alternative to the use of force" to deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime.

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", May said in a statement.

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

The United States responded with 58 missile strikes that destroyed 20% of the Syrian airforce.

"The facility which was struck is located some distance from any known concentrations of civilian habitation, reducing yet further any such risk", the MoD said in a statement.

"This is the first time as prime minister that I have had to take the decision to commit our armed forces in combat - and it is not a decision I have taken lightly".

But shadow attorney general Baroness Chakrabarti questioned the Government's justification for the air strikes, telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "You can't use force under global law just to punish Syria for bad behaviour".

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Despite her careful language, there was immediate criticism from opposition lawmakers who said May should have consulted parliament before joining US-led action in Syria.

Germany, Italy, Canada, Australia and European Council president Donald Tusk have "all expressed their support for the actions that Britain, France and America have taken", the PM will add.

The former missile base was assessed to have been used by the Syrian regime to "keep chemical weapon precursors stockpiled in breach of Syria's obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention", the MoD said in a statement.

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.

"It was both right and legal to take military action together with our closest allies to alleviate further humanitarian suffering by degrading the Syrian regime's chemical weapons capability", May said.

He reiterated that Canada condemns the use of chemical weapons in Ghouta.

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