April 12, 2018
The British government has signaled it is ready to back US military action against Syria, saying it was "highly likely" the Assad regime used chemical weapons on its own people and that such action could not go unchallenged.
UK, France back Trump as May says highly likely Syrian regime used chemical weapons
British Prime Minister Theresa May's senior ministers agreed on the need for action at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, but Downing Street did not specify what measures the UK would take.
Ministers said there was need to "deter the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime," and alleviate the humanitarian situation, a Downing Street statement said.
"This afternoon Cabinet met and received an update on the attack against innocent civilians in Douma, Syria, on Saturday. The Prime Minister said it was a shocking and barbaric act which killed up to 75 people, including children, in the most appalling and inhumane way."
"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 statement said.
"The Prime Minister said it was a further example of the erosion of international law in relation to the use of chemical weapons, which was deeply concerning to us all. Following a discussion in which every member present made a contribution, Cabinet agreed it was vital that the use of chemical weapons did not go unchallenged," the spokesperson added.
Britain would work with United States and France to coordinate an international response, the statement said. French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron claimed earlier that France had "proof" the Assad regime used chemical weapons in Douma at the weekend, and would support any US action.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad earlier warned the West against attacking Syria, saying accusations about the suspected chemical attack on Douma were "fabricated."
"Any possible action will only cause more instability in the region and threaten international security and peace," Syrian state TV quoted Assad as saying at a meeting Thursday with a high-level Iranian delegation in Damascus.
On Wednesday, Trump appeared to suggest airstrikes were imminent, warning Russia, Syria's key ally, to "get ready" for military action. But after being criticized for apparently telegraphing US intentions, Trump on Thursday attempted to blur the timing of any potential airstrikes on Syria.
"Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!" he tweeted, without ruling out attacks.
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