British Prime Minister David Cameron signaled that he would push ahead with plans for a vote in the British parliament to approve military action against ISIS militants in Syria, The Daily Telegraph newspaper said.
Cameron was quoted as saying that British military attacks in Syria “may well become possible.” Previously, Cameron has said he sees a strong case for extending British air strikes to Syria from Iraq.
Cameron lost a parliamentary vote on the use of force in Syria in 2013. Consequently, British bombing so far has only targeted ISIS in neighboring Iraq.
Later on Sunday Cameron said that Vladimir Putin’s decision to take military action in Syria to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was a “terrible mistake”.
“They are backing the butcher Assad, which is a terrible mistake for them and for the world. It’s going to make the region more unstable,” Cameron told the BBC on the first day of his Conservative Party’s annual conference in the northern city of Manchester.
Russia this week struck at targets in Syria, a dramatic escalation of foreign involvement in the civil war.
“Most of the Russian airstrikes, as far as we’ve been able to see so far, have been in parts of Syria not controlled by ISIL (ISIS), but controlled by other opponents of the regime,” Cameron said.
However The Daily Telegraph said Cameron does not believe Russian military involvement in the Syrian civil war should prevent Britain’s attempt to strike at Islamic State.
“What I am clear about is one of the biggest threats we have to respond to is that terrorist threat,” he was quoted as saying by the newspaper on the eve of the annual conference of his ruling Conservative Party in the northern English city of Manchester.
In a move that is likely to please many in his party, he said he would “beef up” Britain’s elite Special Air Service regiment (SAS) and buy 20 new drones – known as Protectors - as part of the battle with ISIS militants, the newspaper said.
After revealing last month that Britain had killed two of its own nationals who had been fighting for ISIS in Syria, Cameron indicated that British militants in Syria will be targeted by drones as a “last resort”, the newspaper said.
Meanwhile, British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond said on Sunday Russia cannot fight ISIS militants in Syria and support Assad at the same time.
"Russian support for him will drive the opposition in Syria into the arms of ISIL (Islamic State) strengthening the evil that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin says he wants to defeat," Hammond told the Conservative Party conference in the northern city of Manchester.