France Mulls Military Action Against Syria For Gas Attacks

Donald Trump

The UK Cabinet agreed at a meeting on Thursday that Syrian President Bashar Assad's government was highly likely responsible for the alleged chemical attack and that Prime Minister Theresa May should coordinate the response to the incident with the United States and France.

Theresa May received unanimous cabinet backing for United Kingdom military action against Syrian regime targets after senior ministers were briefed by Sir Mark Sedwill, the national security adviser, on the intelligence case pointing to President Assad's culpability for the Douma attack.

France has proof that the Syrian government launched chlorine gas attacks and has crossed a line that could prompt French airstrikes, President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday.

The U.S. stance on striking Syria is no clearer, even after President Trump tweeted that missiles "will be coming".

But after being criticized for apparently telegraphing United States intentions, Trump on Thursday attempted to blur the timing of any potential airstrikes on Syria.

Citing US estimates that Assad has used chemical weapons "at least 50 times" in the seven-year war, Haley said: "All nations and all people will be harmed if we allow Assad to normalize the use of chemical weapons". She told her senior ministers on Thursday the Douma events showed a "deeply concerning" erosion of worldwide legal norms barring the use of chemical weapons.

At the House hearing, Democrats grilled Mattis on the wisdom and legality of Trump ordering an attack on Syria without explicit authorization from Congress. Mattis argued it would be justified as an act of self-defense, with 2,000 USA ground troops in Syria; he insisted he could not talk about military plans because an attack "is not yet in the offing".

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

"You are a minority Government, and you need to seek the consent of Parliament before you commit the United Kingdom to any action".


"The chemical weapons attack that took place on Saturday in Douma in Syria was a shocking and barbaric act", May told reporters on Wednesday.

Asked about the risks of USA military retaliation, Mattis cited two concerns, starting with avoiding civilian casualties. "Not to react is to prove to the rest of the world that what we say does not matter".

Later, May's office said she had spoken with Trump by telephone, and the two had agreed it was vital to challenge Assad's use of chemical weapons, and that they would continue to work closely together to do so.

Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said parliament should be consulted before May approved military action.

Japan will only support U.S. President Donald Trump's "resolve" to prevent any further use of chemical weapons in Syria, the sources said.

The statement made no specific reference to military action. May isn't legally required to do that, though it has become conventional since the 2003 invasion of Iraq for lawmakers to be given the chance to vote before British forces are deployed.

It has been observed in subsequent military deployments in Libya and Iraq and many British lawmakers and voters are deeply sceptical of deepening involvement in the Syrian civil war.

Britain has launched air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria, but not against the country's government. Multiple IS terror attacks have targeted France, including one last month.

Syria and Russia have denied using poisonous gas in Douma on April 7, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying that Moscow had "irrefutable" evidence that the attack in Douma was a "staged event".

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