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British PM says will speak with Donald Trump regarding Syria chemical attack

14 April 2018, 01:46 | Marta Robbins

British Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered British submarines to move within missile range of Syria in readiness for strikes against the Syrian military that could begin as early as Thursday night, the Daily Telegraph newspaper said.

Mrs May faces growing impatience from Washington, where President Donald Trump tweeted the missiles "will be coming".

May, also speaking earlier on Wednesday, said all the indications were that the Syrian authorities were responsible for the chemical attack in the town of Douma and that such shocking assaults could not go unchallenged.

Britain's Parliament is in recess until Monday.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "Cabinet agreed that the Assad regime has a track record of the use of chemical weapons and it is highly likely that the regime is responsible for Saturday's attack".

Britain continues to support the US-led coalition targeting IS jihadists in Iraq and Syria, and has conducted more than 1,700 strikes.

A spokesperson for May has stated that cabinet members will meet on Thursday.

May's Cabinet met for over two hours in Downing Street before coming to a final agreement.

She continued: "The use of chemical weapons can not go unchallenged".

The attack was first reported by Syrian rebel group Jaish al-Islam on Saturday.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had said it meant to send investigators to Douma to look for evidence of a chemical attack.

Britons baulk at conflict with Russian Federation over Syria
But Damascus allies had confirmed that precautionary measures were being taken throughout Syria . Heras, a Middle East security fellow at the Washington-based Center for a New American Security.

"Parliament should always be given a say on military action", Corbyn told the BBC when asked about Syria.

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 unsafe escalation of the conflict".

May is not obliged to win parliament's approval, but a non-binding constitutional convention to do so has been established since a 2003 vote on joining the US -led invasion of Iraq.

There is no guarantee lawmakers would rubber-stamp a decision for military strikes.

"The dangers of bombing now, which could escalate the conflict beyond belief - just imagine the scenario if an American missile shoots down a Russian plane or vice versa".

May spoke with President Trump on Thursday night about the worldwide response to Syria, and they "agreed that the Assad regime had established a pattern of risky behaviour in relation to the use of chemical weapons", according to the Downing Street.

Britain is now part of a US-led coalition conducting air strikes against jihadists from the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq and Syria, and has conducted more than 1,700 such attacks.

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.

Davis, who voted against military action against the Assad regime in 2013, added: "The situation in Syria is horrific - the use of chemical weapons is something the world has to prevent". That then deterred the US administration of Barack Obama from similar action.

But with less than a year to go until Britain leaves the European Union, May wants to deepen its "special relationship" with the United States with a wide-ranging free trade deal that would help cushion the impact of Brexit.



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