British Cabinet agrees 'need for action' in Syria

Syrian regime'highly likely to blame for chemical attack UK says

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"While the full assessment of the strike is ongoing, we are confident of its success it was a limited, targeted and effective strike with clear boundaries that expressly sought to avoid escalation and did everything possible to prevent civilian casualties", May said. "It is not about regime change", May said in a statement.

Military bases near the capital Damascus and the city of Homs were targeted, after an alleged chemical attack on the Syrian town of Douma.

"Britain's Ministry of Defence said four Tornado jets using Storm Shadow missiles had taken part in the attack which had been created to target a military facility where it was assessed Syria had stockpiled chemicals".

Mr Trump said the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons on Douma was a "significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very bad regime".

The Western missile strikes demonstrate the volatile nature of the Syrian civil war, which started in March 2011 as an anti-Assad uprising but is now a proxy conflict involving a number of world and regional powers and a myriad of insurgent groups. So there is no practicable alternative to the use of force to degrade and deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Regime.

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President Macron insisted France play a key role in the attacks, after Syria crossed the "red line" he set out in May a year ago by using chemical weaponry again.

A spokesperson added the facility was "located some distance from any known concentrations of civilian habitation" and scientific analysis was used to "minimise any risks of contamination to the surrounding area".

Mrs May said chemical weapons had "all too often" been used in recent times.

"This is the first time as prime minister that I have had to take the decision to commit our armed forces in combat - and it is not a decision I have taken lightly", she said.

The BBC said May was ready to give the go-ahead for Britain to take part in action led by the United States without seeking prior approval from parliament. This persistent pattern of behavior must be stopped - not just to protect innocent people in Syria from the horrific deaths and casualties caused by chemical weapons but also because we can not allow the erosion of the global norm that prevents the use of these weapons. Britain's Parliament is in recess until Monday, though it could be recalled for an emergency debate.

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The UK's Opposition Labour party branded the strikes as "legally questionable", conducted without the backing or vote in the UK Parliament.

Intelligence and open source accounts indicated that the Syrian government was behind the attack on Saturday, according to the PM.

Germany's chancellor says the allied strikes in Syria were - in her words - a "necessary and appropriate" response to what the US and its allies say was a recent chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma.

The group said it "strongly condemned" the action and accused May of "sanctioning killing" at US President Donald Trump's behest.

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

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In 2013, the British parliament defeated a call by then prime minister David Cameron for air strikes in response to an earlier chemical attack in Syria.

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