UK Submarines Sent Within Missile Range of Syria for Strikes

UK Submarines Sent Within Missile Range of Syria for Strikes

Britain last night stopped short of committing to an imminent military attack against President Bashar Assad's regime in Syria as Theresa May's "war" Cabinet agreed an "international response" was needed.

Mrs May faces growing impatience from Washington, where President Donald Trump tweeted the missiles "will be coming".

Downing Street said senior ministers had agreed it was "highly likely" that the Syrian government was responsible for the "shocking and barbaric" gas attack on the rebel-held town of Douma, which killed up to 75 people.

Liberal Democrats leader Sir Vince Cable demanded Parliament be recalled to discuss and vote on the Syria crisis, telling the BBC: 'The position is a very unsafe one because of Russian involvement - also because we have an erratic president of the United States'.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "Cabinet agreed that the Assad regime has a track record of the use of chemical weapons and it is highly likely that the regime is responsible for Saturday's attack".

The Cabinet's approval for action raised the likelihood of Britain joining France and the United States in a military response against Syria's government.

A spokesperson for May has stated that cabinet members will meet on Thursday.

Britain's Minister for the Cabinet Office David Lidington arrives in Downing Street in London, Britain, April 12, 2018.

This afternoon Cabinet met and received an update on the attack against innocent civilians in Douma, Syria, on Saturday.

Later, May's office said she had spoken with Trump by telephone, and that the two had agreed it was vital to challenge Assad's use of chemical weapons, and that they would continue to work closely together to do so.

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The Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said Assad's government had been asked to make necessary arrangements for an OPCW investigation team to visit shortly.

Russian media reported yesterday that Syrian government forces had seized control of the city at the centre of the escalating tensions, Douma, where the attack is said to have taken place.

The White House pushed back against suggestions that Mr Trump had broadcast his plans for military strikes via Twitter, saying he had not laid out a timetable for action, that all options were still on the table and he was assessing how to respond.

Jeremy Corbyn and other opposition leaders have called for Parliament to be given a vote before any decision is taken.

"Just imagine the scenario if an American missile shoots down a Russian plane, or vice-a-versa - where do we go from there?"

A YouGov poll in The Times conducted this week found that 43% of voters oppose strikes in Syria, with 34% unsure and only 22% supportive.

British lawmakers voted down taking military action against Damascus in 2013, in what was widely viewed as an assertion of parliamentary sovereignty on the use of force.

Britain is now part of a US-led coalition conducting air strikes against jihadists from the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq and Syria, and has conducted more than 1,700 such attacks.

But with less than a year to go until Britain leaves the European Union, May wants to deepen its "special relationship" with the United States with a wide-ranging free trade deal that would help cushion the impact of Brexit.

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