British Forces Conduct Targeted Strike Against Syria, Says Theresa May

Fighter jets were seen taking off from a British Royal Air Force base in Cyprus early on Saturday

Fighter jets were seen taking off from a British Royal Air Force base in Cyprus early on Saturday Credit AP

The ministry of defence refused to comment on a report in the Daily Telegraph that Royal Navy submarines had been ordered into range immediately to launch Tomahawk cruise missile strikes against Syria.

The strike, conducted with the United States and France, was "limited and targeted", created to minimise any civilian casualties, May said.

Earlier this month, a United Nations commission of inquiry released a report accusing the regime of committing war crimes in Eastern Ghouta, including the use of chemical weapons against civilians.

In a statement published on his Facebook page Saturday, Corbyn said: "Bombs won't save lives or bring about peace.

Even this week the Russians vetoed a Resolution at the UN Security Council which would have established an independent investigation into the Douma attack", she said.

The UK is "confident" that air strikes carried out by Britain, the U.S. and France on suspected chemical weapons facilities in Syria have been successful, the PM has said.

The overnight strikes on Syria began at 2 a.m. United Kingdom time targeting "Syrian installations involved in the regime's use of chemical weapons against its own people", according to a statement released by the ministry of defense.

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.

"Very careful scientific analysis was applied to determine where best to target the Storm Shadows to maximise the destruction of the stockpiled chemicals and to minimise any risks of contamination to the surrounding area", the MoD said in a statement.

"The facility which was struck is located some distance from any known concentrations of civilian habitation, reducing yet further any such risk", it added.

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The assessment notes eight chlorine attacks ahead of the "major attack" on Douma and 44 allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria over the past year.

May repeatedly linked the overnight action to Russia's alleged poisoning of the double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury last month, which she said was part of a pattern of behavior from Moscow and its allies.

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

Looking drawn as she spoke to reporters in Downing Street in a hastily arranged press conference, she said: "We can not allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised - either within Syria, on the streets of the United Kingdom or elsewhere". Britain's Parliament is in recess until Monday, though it could be recalled for an emergency debate.

Davis, who in 2013 voted against taking military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government, said that his decision then was based on a lack of clear evidence and a lack of a clear plan.

The shadow of the 2003 invasion of Iraq still lingers in the corridors of Britain's parliament, when MPs backed then-prime minister Tony Blair in joining USA military action.

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

This has already proven controversial, as Labour and other opposition parties have urged the ruling Conservatives to respect a recent convention that the UK House of Commons approves any military action overseas.

"Bombing can not substitute for diplomacy", he said.

"There have been many instances when we have seen them using those chemical weapons".

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