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UK approves USA military strike on Syria, but not committed to military action

But Labour’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said the decision could worsen the humanitarian crisis. 

“The US missile attack on a Syrian government airbase risks escalating the war in Syria still further,” he said. “Tuesday’s horrific chemical attack was a war crime which requires urgent independent UN investigation and those responsible must be held to account.”

Syria airstrikes: UK offers verbal but not military support to US   Defence secretary backs US response to gas attack but says Britain is not committed to military action against Assad, Guardian, , 7 Apr 17, The British
government was not asked to provide military support to the US attack on Syria but believes it was a “wholly appropriate” response to the deadly use of chemical weapons on civilians, the defence secretary has said.

Sir Michael Fallon said the UK would not get directly involved in action with combat troops or aircraft in Syria without parliamentary approval. But while he made clear that the decision to launch dozens of missiles on to a Syrian airbase in the early hours of Friday was a US one, he said Britain believed it was the right move. “We fully support this strike, it was limited, it was appropriate, and it was designed to target the aircraft and the equipment that the United States believe were used in the chemical attack and to deter President [Bashar al-]Assad from carrying out future chemical attacks,” Fallon said.

He urged Russia to learn a lesson from the action, suggesting President Vladimir Putin was the key figure to end the war. “It is Russia that has the influence over the regime that can … bring this slaughter to a stop.”

 Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Friday, Fallon revealed there had been “close discussions” with the US administration since chemical weapons were dropped from warplanes on Tuesday, killing dozens of civilians, including children, in Idlib province.

He said his American counterpart, James Mattis, had phoned him to share the US assessment of the regime’s culpability, and that the UK was later informed of Trump’s final decision to take action.

The UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, also expressed his support on Twitter, writing: “Fully support US action after deplorable chemical attacks.”

The position was supported by a number of Conservative backbenchers and the Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, who wrote in the Guardian that the UK “cannot shy away from proportionate military intervention”

But Labour’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said the decision could worsen the humanitarian crisis.

“The US missile attack on a Syrian government airbase risks escalating the war in Syria still further,” he said. “Tuesday’s horrific chemical attack was a war crime which requires urgent independent UN investigation and those responsible must be held to account.”

Corbyn said there was a need to “urgently reconvene the Geneva peace talks and unrelenting international pressure for a negotiated settlement of the conflict”. Any intervention ought to be judged on its contribution to the outcome, he said.

Corbyn’s call to “urge restraint on the Trump administration” was backed up by the shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, but contradicted by the party’s deputy leader. ….https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/07/syria-airstrikes-uk-offers-verbal-but-not-military-support-to-us

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April 8, 2017 - Posted by | politics international, UK

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