UK ‘had no other choice’ but to launch airstrikes on Syria: Theresa May

Theresa May said on Saturday she had authorised British forces to conduct precision air-launched cruise missile strikes on Syria to degrade its chemical weapons capability – adding that there ‘was no other choice’.

Four Royal Air Force Tornado jets using Storm Shadow missiles had taken part in the attack on a military facility near Homs where it was assessed Syria had stockpiled chemicals, Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said, reports the Metro.

Britain joined the United States and France in what May cast as a ‘limited and targeted’ strike. It came after intelligence indicated Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government was responsible for an attack using chemical weapons in Douma last Saturday.

The Prime Minister said the missile strike was designed to minimise any civilian casualties and was not an attempt to change the Syrian government. In a statement, she said: ‘This is not about intervening in a civil war. It is not about regime change.’

Britain’s defence ministry said initial indications were that the precision weapons and meticulous target planning had ‘resulted in a successful attack’ May said Britain and the West had an obligation to deter both Assad and others from using chemical weapons after the poison gas attack in Douma near Damascus killed up to 75 people including children.

She added Britain and its allies had sought to use every diplomatic means to stop the use of chemical weapons, but had been repeatedly thwarted, citing a Russian veto of an independent investigation into the Douma attack at the U.N. Security Council this week.