United Kingdom joins Syria air strikes in response to chemical attack

United Kingdom joins Syria air strikes in response to chemical attack

"The strike has been what many people here are bracing for", Doane said.

In the biggest foreign military action so far against Syria's regime, Western officials said a barrage of cruise and air-to-land missiles hit targets near Damascus and in Homs province including a scientific research centre, storage facilities and a command post.

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

He attacked the Assad regime for "deploying chemical weapons to slaughter innocent civilians", referring to the alleged atrocity in Douma last Saturday. "It is not about regime change", May said in a statement.

The three countries consulted and collaborated on an assault in which more than a 100 missiles, reportedly targeting specific sites, were launched into Syria after the government was accused of a chemical attack.

Yesterday Prime Minister Theresa May insisted the military action was "legal" and defended the decision to go ahead without securing the backing of Parliament.

May said the strikes would "send a clear signal to anyone else who believes they can use chemical weapons with impunity".

She said she authorized British forces to join in the strikes after intelligence indicated Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's government was responsible for an attack using chemical weapons in the Damascus suburb of Douma a week ago.

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

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

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". Russian Federation and Syria claim the attack was fabricated.

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.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had said Britain should press for an independent United Nations -led investigation into the suspected chemical attack in Douma rather than wait for instructions from Trump on how to proceed.

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.

"We are reassured that the military action is strictly targeted and limited in its goal".

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