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United Kingdom ministers back action to deter Syrian chemical weapon use

United Kingdom ministers back action to deter Syrian chemical weapon use

"Could be very soon or not so soon at all!"

A No.10 statement said ministers had agreed Assad had a "track record" of using chemical weapons and that it was "highly likely" he was responsible for the attack on the rebel-held town of Douma on Saturday in which more than 40 people were killed.

"I would be happy for Parliament to be recalled but the PM does have the option to go ahead without this", Dr Sarah Wollaston told HuffPost.

"As the President noted on April 8, the chemical weapons attack by the Syrian regime against innocent civilians in Duma, Syria on April 7 was horrifying, and demands an immediate response from the global community", he added.

She said that she would continue to work with Britain's "closest allies" - the U.S. and France - to ensure that those responsible for the "barbaric" attack were held to account.

The British leader's office said Cabinet ministers "agreed on the need to take action to alleviate humanitarian distress and to deter the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime".

After the meeting, in which every minister present spoke, Downing Street also revealed the Cabinet "agreed it was vital that the use of chemical weapons did not go unchallenged".

She continued: "The use of chemical weapons can not go unchallenged".

Russian Federation is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's most powerful ally in the years-long civil war against rebel groups.

A spokesman for May declined to comment on the report.




The Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said Assad's government had been asked to make necessary arrangements for an OPCW investigation team to visit shortly.

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.

"The chemical weapons attack that took place on Saturday in Douma in Syria was a shocking and barbaric act", May told reporters on Wednesday. While May does not legally require Parliament's backing for military action, it is conventional for lawmakers to be given a vote.

One Tory backbencher, who voted against military intervention in Syria in 2013, said she now supports bombing the regime without a parliamentary vote.

"Just imagine the scenario if an American missile shoots down a Russian plane, or vice-a-versa - where do we go from there?"

According to the UK's Daily Telegraph newspaper, British submarines have been ordered to move within missile range of Syria, as strikes against the Assad regime are expected as early as Thursday night. The poll showed 43 percent of voters opposed such a strike and 34 percent did not know what should be done.

Downing Street said the Cabinet agreed the use of chemical weapons in Syria must not go "unchallenged", but gave no immediate details of United Kingdom involvement in any military action against the Assad regime.

Britain is now part of a US-led coalition conducting air strikes against jihadists from the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq and Syria, and has conducted more than 1,700 such attacks.

The war plans of British leaders have been complicated in recent years by the memory of Britain's 2003 decision to invade Iraq after asserting - wrongly, as it later turned out - that President Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

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