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Theresa May 'no practicable alternative' to bombing Syria: Read her full statement

15 April 2018

The British leader's office said Cabinet ministers "agreed on the need to take action to alleviate humanitarian distress and to deter the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime".

The rush to swift action following an alleged chemical weapons attack on the rebel-held town of Douma on April 9 was condemned by several British opposition parties who wanted parliament recalled.

"The Government should do whatever possible to push Russian Federation and the United States to agree to an independent UN-led investigation of last weekend's horrific chemical weapons attack so that those responsible can be held to account".

"Now that the US, France and the United Kingdom have decided on their reaction to the use of chemical weapons last weekend, the need for a diplomatic offensive is more imperative than ever".

U.S. President Donald Trump said he was prepared to sustain the response until the government of Assad stopped its use of chemical weapons.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement that Canada stands with its allies and that it supports the decision " to take action to degrade the Assad regime's ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against its own people". "All the indications are that the Syrian regime was responsible".

Trump has sent mixed messages on his country's readiness to act.

Parliament voted down British military action against Assad's government in 2013, in an embarrassment for May's predecessor, David Cameron.

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Publicly, Trump seems to have no idea what he actually wants to do in Syria.

Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative chairman of parliament's foreign affairs scrutiny committee and a former army officer, said May had "taken the correct decision".

The strikes come as Trump faces a domestic crisis at home as investigations continue into whether his campaign colluded with Russian meddling in the United States election on his behalf or has sought to obstruct justice since.

Trump himself has linked the two issues himself, saying via Twitter last week, "Much of the bad blood with Russia is caused by the Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation, headed up by the all-Democrat loyalists, or people that worked for [former U.S. president Barack] Obama".

He reiterated that Canada condemns the use of chemical weapons in Ghouta.

It comes as Russian Federation and the United States traded fresh blows as the latest round of talks at the UN Security Council. Russian Federation has provided Assad with strong military backing.

Russian Federation has called for a United Nations Security Council meeting on Syria on Friday.

Parliament is in recess until Monday, though it could be called back early for an emergency debate.

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"We hope that there will be no point of no return, that the U.S. and the allies will refrain from military action against sovereign states", he said.

Flares lit up the skies over Damascus, the Syrian capital, early Saturday morning as President Donald Trump announced military airstrikes by the USA, in cooperation with French and British allies. "We can not allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalized - within Syria, on the streets of the United Kingdom, or anywhere else in our world".

"This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very bad regime", he said.

"They agreed it was vital that the use of chemical weapons did not go unchallenged, and on the need to deter the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime".

Merkel has however ruled out joining any possible strikes against Syria.

The European Union Commission's president says those who rely on chemical warfare must be held to account by the world.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons tweeted Thursday that a team of its investigators will start work Saturday in Douma.

Since 2012 there have been sporadic reports of chemical events in Syria. Even this week the Russians vetoed a Resolution at the UN Security Council which would have established an independent investigation into the Douma attack. Two health facilities were also reportedly affected by these attacks.

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In a statement Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the Security Council to reach an agreement on the "continued use of chemical weapons" in Syria and cautioned the situation could quickly spiral out of control if it didn't.

Theresa May 'no practicable alternative' to bombing Syria: Read her full statement