Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Led strikes steer clear of Russian military

Led strikes steer clear of Russian military

This evening I have authorised British armed forces to conduct co-ordinated and targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian Regime's chemical weapons capability and deter their use.

British jets fired missiles at a Syrian military base suspected of holding chemical weapons ingredients on Saturday in Britain's first military action against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

"Initial indications are that the precision of the Storm Shadow weapons and meticulous target planning have resulted in a successful attack", it said.

DUP leader Arlene Foster said she had spoken to May and the airstrikes were "limited but proportionate and justified".

British Prime Minister Theresa May termed the strike "limited and targeted", with no intention of toppling Assad or intervening more widely in the war. But these strikes are about deterring the barbaric use of chemical weapons in Syria and beyond.

The strikes hit a scientific research centre near Damascus, a weapons storage facility west of Homs and a third location that contained both a command post and an equipment storage facility in the same area.

The attack came hours after US President Donald Trump confirmed he'd organised a strike on Damascus.

Speaking at Number 10, Mrs May said action was "legal" and defended the decision to go ahead without securing the backing of Parliament.

"Further UK military intervention in Syria's appalling multi-sided war risks escalating an already devastating conflict", he said.

Welwyn Hatfield's Conservative MP Grant Shapps says that he supports UK, US and French air strikes on Syria.

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U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the response, late Friday, to an alleged chemical weapons attacks carried out by the Syrian government which killed dozens.

May dismissed as "grotesque and absurd" a claim by Russian Federation, which intervened in the war in 2015 to back Assad, that the Douma attack was staged by Britain.

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

Shortly after the military strikes were launched, Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon said United Kingdom foreign policy should be set by Parliament and not Donald Trump after the U.S., United Kingdom and France bombed targets in Syria.

Peter Felstead, editor of Jane's Defence Weekly, said he did not think May would face a "serious backlash", as the strikes ultimately were politically and operationally "the right thing to do".

"He said worldwide investigators were in Syria and ready to visit the site of a suspected deadly chemical weapons attack in Douma, which prompted military action by the United States, France and Britain".

The Labour leader added that weapons inspectors were on their way to verify the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime.

"Britain should be playing a leadership role to bring about a ceasefire in the conflict, not taking instructions from Washington and putting British military personnel in harm's way", he said.

He also did not rule out future military action.

May held an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss possible action on Thursday and there had been calls for the British parliament to be consulted before any air strikes.

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