British PM May: Syria strikes send ‘clear message’ on chemical weapons

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Air strikes by Britain, France and the United States in Syria sent a “clear message” against the use of chemical weapons, British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Saturday.

“This collective action sends a clear message that the international community will not stand by and tolerate the use of chemical weapons,” May told a press conference. She said that at an emergency cabinet meeting in London on Thursday “we agreed that it was both right and legal to take military action” after hearing legal advice.

“I believe that the action taken will have significantly degraded the Syrian regime's ability to use chemical weapons,” she said. “While the full assessment of the strike is ongoing, we are confident of its success,” she added.

Earlier it was announced that four British fighter jets struck a military base near Homs where Britain said Syrian government forces were holding chemical weapon components. “We have hit a specific and limited set of targets,” she said. Asked why she had proceeded without consulting parliament, May cited operational security consideration.

“It was right to take the action that we have done in the timing that we have done,” she said. May said she would address parliament on Monday about the strikes. British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Saturday she had authorized British forces to conduct precision strikes against Syria to degrade its chemical weapons capability.

“This is not about intervening in a civil war. It is not about regime change,” May said in a statement. “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.” The strikes were conducted with the United States and France.

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