British opinion leaders question legality over strikes on Syria

Alicia Farmer
April 14, 2018

The US, Britain and France have just bombed Syria making it the second time the US has waded into the country's seven-year conflict in response to a chemical weapons attack.

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The Kremlin on Friday claimed that British intelligence forces helped stage the attack on the Syrian town of Douma last weekend.

"There is no practicable alternative to the use of force to degrade and deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime", May said in a televised statement.

US Defense Secretary, James Mattis, said the strikes were a "one-time shot" to send a clear message to President Bashar al-Assad and his "murderous lieutenants".

Theresa May said "everything possible" was done to deter civilian casualties.

Sturgeon said the suspected use of chemical weapons was "sickening", but warned that the latest action risked "dangerous escalation".

Mrs May also felt there was "no graver decision" for a British Prime Minister than to have to deploy British forces as part of military action.

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

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Britain's defence ministry said in a statement that four British Tornado jets had fired Storm Shadow missiles at the Syrian base 24 km west of Homs at 0100 GMT.

The air strikes were in retaliation for an alleged chemical attack in Douma earlier this week, which saw horrific images of its aftermath broadcast worldwide.

US President Donald Trump addresses the nation on the situation in Syria April 13, 2018 at the White House in Washington, DC.

Russia, which intervened in the war in 2015 to back Assad, has denied there was a chemical attack and has accused Britain of helping to stage the Douma incident to stoke anti-Russian hysteria. "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".

Trump said strikes on Syria are under way.

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.

"There is a wider question on the future political solution for Syria and that is a matter that we will continue to pursue in diplomatic and political channels with our global partners and allies", May said.

"Our service personnel have played an important role in terms of degrading the ability of the Syrian regime to use chemical weapons in the future", Williamson said.

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