United Kingdom hit a specific and limited set of targets in Syria: May

Henrietta Strickland
April 15, 2018

May said the aim was to deter the Syrian regime authorities from further use of chemical weapons and to send a message to the wider world that it was unacceptable to use such weapons.

Although the British government on Saturday defended its decision to join the US -led military strikes on Syria without consulting Parliament first, British opinion leaders immediately questioned about the Whitehall's legal justification of such a military action.

As the Conservative leader explained her rationale for the airstrikes, opposition parties claimed the attacks were legally dubious, risked escalating conflict and should have been approved by lawmakers. He warned that intervention would lead to a proxy war with Russian Federation which would be "not only unsafe to Britain, but the entire world".

Johnson said May and her cabinet of top ministers had to move quickly on Syria, so could not risk recalling parliament from its holiday break, and added that there were plenty of examples of when a prime minister did not get its approval.

"It was both right and legal to take military action", May said, adding that she would update parliament on Monday.

Deploying the armed forces is a prerogative power, meaning the prime minister can launch action without backing from MPs.

"We can not allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised - within Syria, on the streets of the United Kingdom, or anywhere else in our world", she said.

However, opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said May should have waited it out and "not trailed after Donald Trump".

"This legally questionable action risks escalating further.an already devastating conflict".

But after the Conservatives entered office in 2010, the government suggested that since the 2003 vote on Iraq, a convention had emerged that MPs should have a say, except in cases of emergency.

U.S., French and British missile attacks struck at the heart of Syria's chemical weapons program Saturday in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack a week ago, although the restrained assault appeared unlikely to halt Syrian President Bashar Assad's progress in the seven-year-old civil war.

Britain's Ministry of Defence said the strike against Syria on Saturday had been aimed at a military facility where the Syrian government was assessed to have stockpiled chemicals.

Speaking in a news conference after the strikes, May said: "This was not about interfering in a civil war".

Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: "Riding the coattails of an erratic United States president is no substitute for a mandate from the House of Commons".

"As I discussed with President Trump and President Macron, it was a limited, targeted and effective strike with clear boundaries that expressly sought to avoid escalation and did everything possible to prevent civilian casualties", according her televised remarks on Sky News.

"Such an intervention was directed exclusively to averting a humanitarian catastrophe caused by the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons, and the action was the minimum judged necessary for that objective", Downing Street said.

"There must be urgent confirmation from the prime minister that there will be no further action. without a full parliamentary debate".

The small Northern Irish political party that props up her government said May was justified in taking such action.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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