US, UK and France bomb Syria in response to chemical attack
Air strikes were launched early Saturday morning
The US, UK and France have launched air strikes against what they allege are Syrian chemical weapons facilities, following a chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb a week ago.
More than 100 armaments, bombs and ship-launched cruise missiles, were deployed, the Pentagon said.
A chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs, another storage site and command post nearby and a scientific research centre in Damascus were the three official targets.
Four UK Tornado jets targeted one of the sites - the facility to the west of Homs.
Downing Street said the bombing is intended "to degrade the Syrian Regime’s chemical weapons capability and deter their use."
Last week's attack killed up to 75 people, Theresa May said, and that a "significant body" of information and intelligence indicates Bashar al-Assad is responsible for the "cruel and abhorrent" war crime.
Explosions were reported in Damascus minutes after Trump publicly announced the strikes.
The wave of strikes is the most significant attack against President Bashar al-Assad's government by Western powers in seven years of Syria's civil war.
Theresa May said: "This is not about intervening in a civil war. It is not about regime change.
"It is about a limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region and that does everything possible to prevent civilian casualties.
"And while this action is specifically about deterring the Syrian Regime, it will also send a clear signal to anyone else who believes they can use chemical weapons with impunity.
"The speed with which we are acting is essential in co-operating with our partners to alleviate further humanitarian suffering and to maintain the vital security of our operations.
"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.
"I have done so because I judge this action to be in Britain’s national interest.
"We cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised – within Syria, on the streets of the UK, or anywhere else in our world.
"We would have preferred an alternative path. But on this occasion there is none.
"History teaches us that the international community must defend the global rules and standards that keep us all safe.
"That is what our country has always done. And what we will continue to do."
Jeremy Corbyn had previously called for a parliamentary vote on any military action but the Prime Minister went over his head.
Earlier today I was interviewed about how further UK military intervention in Syria risks a dangerous escalation of the conflict. pic.twitter.com/Z6bXWcTfAk
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) April 13, 2018
After reaching an agreement with cabinet she has taken executive action.
David Cameron sought parliamentary approval for similar action in 2013 but lost and had to back down, after Ed Miliband refused to provide his consent.
MPs reacted to the overnight bombing on Twitter this morning.
Welcome the news of UK military strikes against major chemical weapons facilities in Syria alongside our US and French allies. The world is united in its disgust for any use of chemical weapons, but especially against civilians
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) April 14, 2018
My thoughts are with our servicemen and women - and those of our US and French allies. The cost to President Assad of using heinous chemical weapons must be higher than any perceived benefit. I strongly support the PM’s decision. https://t.co/96oFmAAchD
— Robert Jenrick (@RobertJenrick) April 14, 2018
— Barry Sheerman MP (@BarrySheerman) April 14, 2018
The OPCW was to begin its investigation today. As an elected representative of the people of Ashton Under Lyne I was frozen out of the decision our PM has made to bomb Syria. I am still concerned as to how our action will stop the use of chemical weapons&bring peace #SyriaStrikes
— Angela Rayner (@AngelaRayner) April 14, 2018
— Tom Brake (@thomasbrake) April 14, 2018
All of us should be appalled at chemical weapons attacks, we need an agreed international response to such heinous crimes. That has not happened. I regret that the overnight attacks have come before we have an informed debate in the UK Parliament as to alternatives to bombing.
— Ian Blackford (@Ianblackford_MP) April 14, 2018
The Russian ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, issued a statement threatening "consequences."
"A pre-designed scenario is being implemented," Antonov’s statement said. "Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences. All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris."
Russian state television has instructed viewers to stockpile supplies and prepare for war.