Britain ready for military action in days as cabinet supports May

Posted April 16, 2018

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it is "vital that parliament has the chance to debate and decide in advance" of any military action, which he warned "risks a risky escalation of the conflict".

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.

"Training exercises were clearly already under way at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus in preparation for a possible counterattack by the Russians", says The Guardian. And he insisted it remains US policy not to be involved directly in Syria's civil war.

Tokyo issued a similar response in April a year ago when the United States conducted a missile strike on a Syrian air base that was the alleged source of a chemical attack that killed dozens of civilians.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley told the United Nations today that no decision had been taken about military action against Syria, but use of force would be in response to multiple chemical attacks carried out by President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

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It was not clear whether Trump and USA allies would wait for the results of the investigation before deciding on a strike. The U.S. military has responded at times to Assad's use of chemical weapons but at other times hasn't responded at all.

The U.S., France and Britain have been consulting about launching a military strike.

Macron did not specify whether France is planning military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad's government.

"Cabinet agreed on the need to take action to alleviate humanitarian distress and to deter the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime", a spokeswoman for the prime minister said in a statement after the meeting.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn raised the spectre of the war on Thursday as he insisted MPs should be recalled from their Easter break to have their say on Syria. Downing Street spokesmen repeatedly declined to comment on that report.

According to the statement, May described the chemical attack on Douma in Eastern Ghouta as a "shocking and barbaric act which killed up to 75 people, including children, in the most appalling and inhumane way".

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Formally, the prime minister has the right to go to war without approval from parliament, but a convention has been established in previous conflicts where MPs have a vote either before or shortly after military action begins.

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 US -led coalition.

"Just imagine the scenario if an American missile shoots down a Russian plane, or vice-a-versa - where do we go from there?"

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.

British lawmakers voted down taking military against Damascus in 2013, in what was widely viewed as an assertion of parliamentary sovereignty on the use of force.

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Britain has launched air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria, but not against the country's government. That then deterred the U.S. administration of Barack Obama from similar action.