British PM May summons ministers to discuss possible military action in Syria

British PM May summons ministers to discuss possible military action in Syria

British PM May summons ministers to discuss possible military action in Syria

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in Westminster, London, Britain, March 26, 2018.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Saturday the need to act quickly and protect what she calls "operational security" led her to decide to join the allied strikes on the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad without a prior vote in Parliament.

The prospect of a confrontation between Russian Federation, the Syrian government's ally, and the West has loomed since Trump said on Wednesday that missiles "will be coming" in response to the attack in the Syrian town of Douma on April 7.

May has said "all indications" point to Syrian responsibility for the attack.

The United States, France and Britain have launched military strikes in Syria to punish Assad for an apparent chemical attack against civilians in Douma last week and to deter him from doing it again.

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One site was a science research facility in Damascus, the Syrian capital, where residents said loud explosions rang out. President Donald Trump says he is "prepared to sustain" strikes against Syria until the use of chemical agents stops.

May's office added that she and her top team "agreed the prime minister should continue to work with allies in the United States and France to coordinate an global response".

May recalled the ministers from their Easter holiday for the meeting at 3.30 pm (1430 GMT) in Downing Street to discuss Britain's response to what she has cast as a barbaric attack that can not go unchallenged.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it is "vital that parliament has the chance to debate and decide in advance" of any military action, which he warned "risks a risky escalation of the conflict".

May has said that Russia's veto at the Security Council of a vote to create a new inquiry on chemical attacks meant the United Nations could have no role in investigations.

French President Emmanuel Macron has said that his country has proof the Syrian government was behind the chemical attack.

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Jeremy Corbyn has condemned Donald Trump's rhetoric on Syria and said: 'More bombing, more killing, more war will not save life'. Russian military police began patrolling Douma on Thursday as part of the deal, according to the Russian defence ministry.

"The situation in Syria is horrific, the use of chemical weapons is something the world has to prevent", he said.

The BBC said May was ready to give the go-ahead for Britain to take part in action led by the USA without seeking prior approval from parliament, and the Financial Times said the cabinet had agreed to this.

Formally, the prime minister has the right to go to war without approval from parliament, but a convention has been established in previous conflicts where MPs have a vote either before or shortly after military action begins. Downing Street spokesmen repeatedly declined to comment on that report. The poll showed 43 percent of voters opposed such a strike and 34 percent did not know what should be done.

British lawmakers voted down taking military against Damascus in 2013, in what was widely viewed as an assertion of parliamentary sovereignty on the use of force. That then deterred the US administration of Barack Obama from similar action.

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