Theresa May: Strikes on Syria are in Britain's national interest

A Tornado jet pilot gives the thumbs up to an engineer at RAF Marham Norfolk

A Tornado jet pilot gives the thumbs up to an engineer at RAF Marham Norfolk

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May gives a press conference at Downing Street in central London on April 14, 2018 following British military action against Syria. "We have hit a specific and limited set of targets", she said.

"There is no graver decision for a prime minister than to commit our forces to combat and this is the first time I have had to do so", she said. Syrian state media slammed Western strikes on Saturday as illegal and "doomed to fail", after the US, France, and Britain launched a joint operation against the Damascus government.

The British Government published their legal justification for the strikes on Saturday, stating that in the course of fightign the Syrian civil war "The Syrian regime has been killing its own people for seven years" and that it had used chemical weapons in "breach of the customary worldwide law prohibition on the use of chemical weapons, and amounts to a war crime and a crime against humanity".

"So there is no practicable alternative to the use of force to degrade and deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Regime", she said.

"And a significant body of information including intelligence indicates the Syrian Regime is responsible for this latest attack".

The opposition leader questioned the prime minister's statement that the Syria attack is "right and legal".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called the air strikes "legally questionable" and said May should have sought parliamentary approval for the strikes, instead of "trailing after Donald Trump".

He said: "Bombs won't save lives or bring about peace". "This legally questionable action risks escalating further".

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He said Britain should not be taking instructions from Washington and putting British military personnel in harm's way.

Speaking to the press from Downing Street on Saturday morning, she described the joint action with the US and France as "limited, targeted and effective" and insisted the aim was not to bring about regime change.

Russia, which intervened in the war in 2015 to back Assad, has denied there was a chemical attack and has accused Britain of helping to stage the Douma incident to stoke anti-Russian hysteria.

She added that she would address parliament on Monday.

Correspondents from the British and world press also asked the prime minister to explain what role can the Parliament play in making a decision to attack another sovereign country.

Meanwhile, Former Royal Artillery officer General Sir Richard Barrons, writing a commentary carried by the Times newspaper, warned the strikes may come at a cost.

Portsmouth City Council leader, Donna Jones, said: 'I think it's right and proper that a strong and speedy response was taken to yet another example of chemical weapons being used by the Syrian government.

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