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United Kingdom joins Syria air strikes in response to chemical attack

16 April 2018

Although the British government on Saturday defended its decision to join the USA -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.

Britain's defence ministry said in a statement that four British Tornado jets had fired Storm Shadow missiles at the Syrian base 15 miles (24 kilometres) west of Homs at 0100 GMT.

Speaking in Downing Street, May said the military strikes should be a "warning to Russia" before holding the Syrian government accountable for the chemical attack.

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.

President Donald Trump on Saturday described the alleged chemical attacks in Syria as the "crimes of a monster" as the U.S. launched precision strikes on the war-torn nation jointly with the United Kingdom and France.

"This is the first time as prime minister that I have had to take the decision to commit our armed forces in combat -- and it is not a decision I have taken lightly".

The US president claimed that the joint action was meant to establish a "strong deterrent" against the production, spread, and use of chemical weapons.

The United States, Britain and France carried out a wave of strikes against the Syrian regime on Saturday a week after the suspected deadly gas attack on the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma, in which 40 people were said to have been killed.

The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed those allegations as a bogus story, while Russia's Defense Ministry pointed out that the White Helmets were not a reliable source of information as they were known for spreading fabricated news.

"It was both right and legal to take military action together with our closest allies to alleviate further humanitarian suffering by degrading the Syrian regime's chemical weapons capability", May said.

British lawmakers voted down taking military action against Damascus in 2013, in what was widely viewed as an assertion of parliamentary sovereignty on the use of force. "The opposition does not operate helicopters or use barrel bombs".

The UK has begun air strikes against Syrian chemical weapons sites.

United Kingdom joins Syria air strikes in response to chemical attack