Theresa May 'seeks full role' in Syria strikes

Saul Bowman
April 16, 2018

"There has been no decision to take military action at this point".

Earlier in the day, Bashar al-Jaafari, Syrian ambassador to the U.S., said in NY that two investigating teams from the OPCW were scheduled to arrive in Syria within the next 24 hours.

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

Donald Trump, the USA president, has slammed Russian Federation for its partnership with "Gas Killing Animal" Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, spurring concerns that a U.S. strike could lead to a conflagration with Russian Federation, which has major military facilities at Tartus and Khmeimim and works cheek-by-jowl with Syria forces that could be targeted.

Russian Federation is a major backer of the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country's civil war, and strongly opposes the US claim that Syrian government forces attacked a rebel-held town near Damascus on Saturday with chemical weapons.

Prime Minister Theresa May was holding an emergency cabinet to discuss joining mooted strikes by the United States and allies, as rival politicians and some Conservative colleagues called for a parliamentary vote before any British involvement.

Geopolitics specialist Dominique Moisi, a senior adviser at the Montaigne Institute?think tank in Paris, said "we have said that we were not allowing the use of chemical weapons, that this was a red line ..."

Theresa May is reportedly adamant that the United Kingdom plays an equal part in any military action against Syria. Downing Street spokesmen repeatedly declined to comment on that report. May isn't legally required to do that, though it has become conventional since the 2003 invasion of Iraq for lawmakers to be given the chance to vote before British forces are deployed.


France already has some 1,100 troops involved in its Operation Chammal, created in 2014 to fight Islamic State extremists in Iraq and extended in 2015 to Syria, as part of the USA -led coalition.

The statement made no reference to whether Parliament would be given a say on military action - prompting renewed concerns among opposition parties and some Tory MPs that Mrs May is prepared to go ahead without a Commons vote.

Britain has launched air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria, but not against the country's government.

A YouGov poll in The Times conducted this week found that 43 percent of voters oppose strikes in Syria, with 34 percent unsure and only 22 percent supportive.

Parliament voted down British military action against Assad's government in 2013, in an embarrassment for May's predecessor, David Cameron.

Although Mattis noted the risks of military action, he emphasized that Syria's use of chemical weapons should not be tolerated.

"We have not yet made any decision to launch military attacks into Syria", Mattis told lawmakers on the House Armed Services committee.

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