Syria air strikes: United Kingdom confident of successful mission, says PM

May ‘orders British submarines into position’ as UK considers strike against Syria

"There's one overwhelming reason why this was the right thing to do, and that is to deter the use of chemical weapons, not just by the Assad regime but around the world", he said, describing the action as a response not only to the Douma attack but repeated use of chemical weapons in Syria in the past few years.

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.

Asked if the strikes had also been a warning to Russian Federation, the PM said: "The action that took place last night was an action which was focused on degrading and deterring the operational capability and the willingness of the Syrian regime to continue to use chemical weapons".

May said the missile strike was created to minimize any civilian casualties and was not an attempt to change the Syrian government.

Conservative former London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith tweeted: "We need a clear response to the Syrian chemical outrage".

The allies want to prevent a repeat of an apparent chemical attack in Douma. Britain's Parliament is in recess until Monday, though it could be recalled for an emergency debate.

Russia's ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko said The White Helmets, a group of humanitarian volunteers, are supported by the British Government and are "famous for staging fake chemical attacks".

He added: "To Iran and to Russian Federation I ask - what kind of regime wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?"

She said nearly a century of global acceptance about not using chemical weapons had been eroded in Douma and Salisbury.

The BBC said May was ready to give the go-ahead for Britain to take part in action led by the United States without seeking prior approval from parliament.

Mr. Corbyn said that rather than a military action, what was needed was a coordinated global drive for a ceasefire and a negotiated UN-led settlement.

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The MoD added the facility was located "some distance" from "concentrations of civilian habitation", and the risk of contamination to the surrounding area had been minimized.

May doesn't have a majority in Parliament, but the Democratic Unionist Party, which is propping up her government, said it backed her actions.

Her statement was released shortly after Donald trump made a live dress to the USA outlining the decision to launch airstrikes. This was dismissed by cabinet minister David Lidington, who told ITV there were "no plans" to change the law.

"Bombs won't save lives or bring about peace", Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said in a statement.

"The continued use of chemical weapons can not go unchallenged".

"Military action at the time was not a last resort".

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.

The UK, United States and France launched "precision strikes" in Syria overnight.

British lawmakers 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.

Britain continues to support the US-led coalition targeting IS jihadists in Iraq and Syria, and has conducted more than 1,700 strikes.

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