Britain prepares for strikes in Syria as May seeks cabinet approval

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May wears a head scarf as she visits the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, in Walsall, central England on April 11, 2018, as preparations to mark Vaisakhi get underway. Vaisakhi is an important festival in the Sikh calendar, and is celebrated on April 14 each year. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Joe Giddens

Senior UK government ministers expected to approve May’s proposal to join US-led strikes against Assad

Theresa May has called for an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss military action in Syria and reportedly moved British submarines into position, after US President Donald Trump warned missiles “will be coming” for the Syrian government.

The British prime minister is expected to sell the case for military action in a bid to stop further chemical attacks by forces loyal to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.

The emergency cabinet meeting, at 3.30pm London time, comes amid widespread calls by opposition leaders for MPs to be given a vote before taking any military action in Syria.

“The chemical weapons attack that took place on Saturday in Douma in Syria was a shocking and barbaric act,” May said on Wednesday. “All the indications are that the Syrian regime was responsible.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn demanded an urgent inquiry into the chemical attacks in Douma and said that “parliament should always be given a say on military action.”

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. It has been observed in subsequent military deployments in Libya and Iraq.

On Wednesday evening, Russia used its veto at the UN for the second time this week, to stop an international investigation into chemical weapons use in Syria.

The Daily Telegraph said May had ordered British submarines to move within missile range of Syria in readiness.

A UK government source told the Times that RAF fighter jets operating from Cyprus is also prepared for air strikes in Syria.

“We have planes on the tarmac in Akrotiri,” a Whitehall source told the Times. “We are ready.”

Source: Middle East Eye


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