Syria strikes send 'clear message' on chemical weapons: British PM

May calls urgent cabinet meeting amid reports of looming military action in Syria

UK Prime Minister Theresa May

Making the case for the strikes, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: "The reprehensible use of chemical weapons in Douma is further evidence of the Syrian regime's appalling cruelty against its own people".

Russian Federation is claiming the chemical attack in Syria was staged by foreign agents, singling out one country in particular.

Yesterday Prime Minister Theresa May insisted the military action was "legal" and defended the decision to go ahead without securing the backing of Parliament.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had said Britain should press for an independent United Nations -led investigation into the suspected chemical attack in Douma rather than wait for instructions from Trump on how to proceed.

"This legally questionable action risks escalating already devastating conflict".

"Bombs won't save lives or bring about peace", Corbyn said, adding that May "should have sought parliamentary approval".

"America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria", he said, thanking the United Kingdom and France for joining the USA in its fight against the Syrian regime.

Stop the War, a pacifist coalition once chaired by Corbyn, has called a demonstration outside the British parliament on Monday to protest about the strikes. However, that has been less the case in recent years.

Although MPs may call for a substantive parliamentary vote on the action, the debate will only be accompanied by a neutral motion, such as "that the House has considered the matter of military action taken on 14 April". At that time, May's predecessor David Cameron had made it clear he wanted to see Assad overthrown.

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Lawmakers backed action in Iraq in 2014, and again in Syria in 2015, strictly limiting strikes in both countries to targets of the Daesh terror group.

In Damascus, Syria's deputy foreign minister, Faisal Mekdad, met inspectors from the global chemical weapons watchdog OPCW for about three hours in the presence of Russian officers and a senior Syrian security official.

Britain's prime minister is about to face questions in parliament about the UK's decision to launch coordinated attacks on Syria - alongside American and French forces - without parliamentary approval.

"They are in government". The strikes at 0100 GMT were 15 miles (24 kilometers) west of Homs.

It said the Syrian regime has been using chemical weapons since 2013, killing almost 1,000 civilians and injuring hundreds more which constitutes a war crime and a crime against humanity.

Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon said Western airstrikes on Syria had achieved little previously and "nothing I've heard persuades me they will do so now".

Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats, the fourth-biggest party in parliament, accused May of "riding the coat-tails of an erratic United States president". "And so to achieve this there must also be a wider diplomatic effort - including the full range of political and economic levers - to strengthen the global norms prohibiting the use of chemical weapons which have stood for almost a century", May said.

He said with or without the vote it would be "largely symbolic" and would mainly just acknowledge that Parliament has had its say.

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