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Britain had no choice but to conduct air strikes, Theresa May says

Britain had no choice but to conduct air strikes, Theresa May says

"International law only allows to use force in self-defense or under a Security Council mandate", an embassy press officer said, commenting on the UK's clarification of its legal position, which claimed that the legal basis for the strikes against Syria was "humanitarian intervention".

"We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents", the U.S. president said in a televised address.

"The government should do whatever possible to push Russian Federation and the United States to agree to an independent UN-led investigation of last weekend's horrific chemical weapons attack so that those responsible can be held to account", he added.

"Important infrastructure was destroyed which will result in a setback for the Syrian regime", Mattis said.

The joint attack by the United States, Britain, and France, which began at 3:55 a.m. local time (0055 GMT), launched some 110 missiles targeting Syrian military sites in the Syrian capital Damascus and elsewhere, Syria's state news agency SANA said, citing the military.

"We have sought to use every possible diplomatic channel to achieve this", the prime minister said.

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

But May said intelligence pointed to the Syrian government being behind the suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma last Saturday, and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said speed was "essential". Britain has accused Russia of being behind last month's nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, southern England, a charge Moscow has rejected.

"I have done so because I judge this action to be in Britain's national interest".

Opinion polls suggest most Britons do not support military action. "It is not about regime change", May said in statement made from her country residence at Chequers just minutes after U.S. President Donald Trump announced the strikes from the White House. "The opposition does not operate helicopters or use barrel bombs".

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".


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