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United Kingdom hit a specific and limited set of targets in Syria: May

15 April 2018

The British government has signaled that it was ready to back USA military action against Syria, saying it was "highly likely" the Assad regime used chemical weapons on its own people and that such action could not go unchallenged.

Syrian state TV said the army's air defences shot down 13 missiles.

"This evening I have authorised British armed forces to conduct co-ordinated and targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian regime's chemical weapons capability and deter their use". She also cited other attacks by the Assad regime against its own people in June previous year where 100 people were killed and more than 500 were injured.

"This collective action sends a clear message that the global community will not stand by and tolerate the use of chemical weapons", May said at a press conference, calling the military action "right and legal".

She declined to say whether Bashar al-Assad should stay in power and said talks with allies would continue on finding a political solution to the civil war.

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"The facility which was struck is located some distance from any known concentrations of civilian habitation, reducing yet further any such risk", the MoD said in a statement.

"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 added that the strikes were not about "regime change".

"Establishing this deterrent is a vital national security interest of the United States".

May has not confirmed whether Britain will participate directly, but moved closer to it Wednesday, saying "the continued use of chemical weapons can not go unchallenged". Britain's Parliament is in recess until Monday, though it could be recalled for an emergency debate.

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The DUP has backed Prime Minister Theresa May's decision to authorise air strikes in Syria.

May does not legally require Parliament's backing for military action, though it is conventional for lawmakers to be given the chance to vote.

"We are reassured that the military action is strictly targeted and limited in its objective". She condemned Russian Federation for vetoing a UN Security Council resolution calling for a new body to determine responsibility for the attack, saying it meant "there can be no role now for investigations by the United Nations".

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

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

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Following the announcement, the USA said strikes had been launched at 9pm EST (2am BST) and had destroyed important infrastructure at three sites connected with the Syrian regime's chemical weapons programme.

United Kingdom hit a specific and limited set of targets in Syria: May