UK PM May: British forces conduct targeted strike against Syria

UK Ministers

"This debate is an opportunity to ensure that there is no future change in the role of British military in Syria without Parliament's approval".

In a statement Mrs May said that the Syrian regime had demonstrated a "persistent pattern of behaviour" when it came to the use of chemical weapons, that "must be stopped".

May reiterated that Britain made use of every possible diplomatic means to stop the use of chemical weapons, but there was no response and "so there is no practicable alternative to the use of force to degrade and deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime".

"For we can not allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised - either within Syria, on the streets of the United Kingdom or elsewhere".

She declined to say whether Bashar al-Assad should stay in power and said talks with allies would continue on finding a political solution to the civil war.

He said: "The objective of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread, and use of chemical weapons".

When asked if Syria's Assad could remain leader as long as he refrained from further use of chemical weapons, May said: "This was about, as I have said and you have recognized, this was specifically about the use of chemical weapons". "We can not allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalized - within Syria, on the streets of the United Kingdom, or anywhere else in our world".

In her comments, May also alluded to a nerve agent attack in Britain last month on a former Russian spy and his daughter.

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Many politicians in Britain, including some in May's own Conservative Party, had called for parliament to be recalled from a break to give authority to any military strike.

British Prime Minister Theresa May described the strike as "limited and targeted".

A YouGov poll for The Times newspaper this week indicated that only a fifth of voters believed that Britain should launch attacks on Syrian military targets and more than two-fifths opposed action.

Britain's Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said the airstrike mission had been a successful one.

The Labour leader said chlorine has been used by "a number of parties in the conflict" in Syria as a weapon and questioned the legality of the airstrikes.

In a statement to the Commons, she will also set out her justification for the decision - arguing that it was done to alleviate further humanitarian suffering in Syria caused by chemical weapons attacks.

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.

In a statement Friday night, U.S. President Donald Trump outlined strikes being carried out against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad after a chemical weapon attack earlier in the week.

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