Western missile attack on Syria was 'right and legal', May says

PEOPLE WALK through debris in the center of Afrin Syria

Prime Minister Theresa May said there was "no practicable alternative to the use of force" to deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that four RAF Tornado jets were deployed to launch missiles at a Syrian military facility.

During the two-hour meeting yesterday afternoon, ministers agreed to join forces with the U.S. and France to prevent Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad's forces from launching an "appalling and inhumane" attack again.

May has repeatedly said that the missile strike on Syria was not about "regime change". Also that it is not about a wider intervention in the Syrian civil war which would, in our view, be counter productive. It is not about regime change. In Douma, last Saturday, a chemical weapons attack killed up to 75 people, including young children, in circumstances of pure horror.

May said that the objective of the strike was to "degrade and deter" the Syrian regime in its use of chemical weapons.

When asked if Syria's Assad could remain leader as long as he refrained from further use of chemical weapons, May said: "This was about, as I have said and you have recognized, this was specifically about the use of chemical weapons".

May said while the strike was targeted at Syria, it sent a message to anyone who used chemical weapons.

At a press conference in Downing Street, Mrs May said: "There is no graver decision for a prime minister than to commit our forces to combat and this is the first time I have had to do so".

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Britain would work with the U.S. and France to coordinate an global response, it added.

Looking drawn as she spoke to reporters in Downing Street in a hastily arranged press conference, she said: "We can not allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised - either within Syria, on the streets of the United Kingdom or elsewhere".

"There has been no decision to take military action at this point".

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a scientific research centre and military bases in Damascus were targeted, as were the Syrian army's Republican Guard and 4th Division, elite units of the Syrian military.

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

"The UK operated together with our closest allies to alleviate further humanitarian suffering by degrading the Syrian regime's chemical weapons capability", asserted the premier.

"There have been many instances when we have seen them using those chemical weapons".

Following the announcement, the U.S. said strikes had been launched at 9pm EST (2am BST) and had destroyed important infrastructure at three sites connected with the Syrian regime's chemical weapons programme.

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