Theresa May: Syria air strikes carried out to alleviate further suffering

Donald Trump announces strikes on the Syrian regime

Donald Trump announces strikes on the Syrian regime Credit AFP

British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Saturday that it was right and legal to order cruise missile strikes against Syria after a chemical attack on civilians in the town of Douma.

"This is not about intervening in a civil war".

In the televised address, Mr Trump said the allies would continue their response until Bashar Al-Assad, the Syrian president, ceased its use of chemical weapons.

She stated the airstrike was "limited and targeted" created to minimize civilian casualties and bring down the chemical weapon capability in Syria, Reuters reported.

Donald Trump has announced that a coalition of America, Britain and France have begun airstrikes against the Syrian regime to punish its chemical attack that killed more than 70 people.

May said the missile strike was created to minimize any civilian casualties and was not an attempt to change the Syrian government.

"For we can not allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised - either within Syria, on the streets of the United Kingdom or elsewhere".

May is not obliged to win parliament's approval before ordering military action, but a non-binding constitutional convention to do so has been established since a 2003 vote on joining the USA -led invasion of Iraq. "Let these united actions send a clear message to the regime - the use of chemical weapons is categorically unacceptable and you will be held to account".

He said: "The objective of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread, and use of chemical weapons".

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Britain has blamed Russian Federation for the poisoning - a charge vehemently denied by Moscow which has accused London of failing to come up with evidence for its claims.

The government's legal position, drawn up with the advice of the attorney-general, Jeremy Wright, and presented to cabinet ministers last Wednesday, said force was justified to alleviate "overwhelming humanitarian suffering".

"I have done so because I judge this action to be in Britain's national interest", she added.

But she also drew a link with the nerve agent attack on Russian former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.

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

Parliament is not due to reconvene until Monday, following its Easter recess.

Theresa May will pre-empt planned opposition motions by applying to the Speaker for a debate herself "to give the House an extended opportunity to discuss the military action".

But they backed action in Iraq the following year, and again in Syria in 2015, strictly limiting strikes to targets of the Islamic State group.

Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: "Riding the coattails of an erratic United States president is no substitute for a mandate from the House of Commons".

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