May summons cabinet to discuss possible military action in Syria
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London - British Prime Minister Theresa
May summoned her senior ministers to a special cabinet meeting
on Thursday to discuss joining the United States and France in
possible military action against Syria after a suspected poison
gas attack on civilians.
US President Donald Trump warned Russia on Wednesday of
imminent military action in Syria, declaring that missiles "will
be coming" and lambasting Moscow for standing by Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad.
Russia has warned the West against attacking its Syrian
ally, which is also supported by Iran, and says there was no
chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma.
May recalled the ministers from their Easter holiday for a
special cabinet meeting in Downing Street later on Thursday to
discuss Britain's response to what she has cast as a barbaric
attack that cannot go unchallenged.
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. Downing Street spokesmen
repeatedly declined to comment on that report.
"The chemical weapons attack that took place on Saturday in
Douma in Syria was a shocking and barbaric act," May told
reporters on Wednesday. "All the indications are that the Syrian
regime was responsible."
The Daily Telegraph newspaper said May had ordered British
submarines to move within missile range of Syria in readiness
for strikes against the Syrian military.
May is not obliged to win parliament's approval, but a
non-binding constitutional convention to do so has been
established since a 2003 vote on joining the U.S.-led invasion
of Iraq. It has been observed in subsequent military deployments
in Libya and Iraq.
Britain has been launching air strikes in Syria from its
military base in Cyprus, but only against targets linked to the
Islamic State militant group.
Parliament voted down British military action against
Assad's government in 2013, in an embarrassment for May's
predecessor, David Cameron. That then deterred the US administration of Barack Obama from similar action.