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Senior Tories call on Theresa May to back Donald Trump's airstrikes in Syria
Theresa May is facing mounting pressure from senior Conservative MPs to support US-led airstrikes against the Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.
Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the foreign affairs committee, and Nick Boles, a former minister, have both urged Mrs May to back the strikes without seeking parliamentary approval.
President Donald Trump promised on Monday that a "major decision" would be taken on Syria within the next two days, as a US navy destroyer appeared to be getting in position to attack.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who spoke with Mr Trump on Sunday, has indicated France's support for the US. Mrs May is due to speak with Mr Trump on Tuesday.
The senior Conservative MP and former soldier Tom Tugendhat has called for action to "degrade" Syria's chemical weapon resources, after the Syrian town of Douma was attacked with suspected chlorine gas on Saturday.
He said: "Striking Syria's stockpiles of chemical weapons would degrade their ability to commit further war crimes and could be done together with allies. It would not require a vote in Parliament."
Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general, has also thrown his weight behind an attack. He told the Evening Standard on Tuesday: "In view of the enormity of what has been done, if there is a way of preventing its recurrence by the limited use of force that is one thing and I would be supportive."
Former minister Nick Boles said the Prime Minister had his "strong support" is she decides to join the US and France in taking action against President Assad.
Theresa May is due to chair a national security council meeting on Tuesday afternoon or on Wednesday.
It comes as President Trump - who last year ordered missile strikes on a Syrian airfield after seeing distressing images of civilians poisoned with sarin - looked poised to act again.
"Nothing is off the table," said Mr Trump, when asked whether he was considering military action.
"We are making a decision with respect to what to do with the horrible attack on Syria," he said.
"It will be met, and it will be met forcefully. I won't say when, as I don't like talking about timing.
"We're going to make a decision tonight, or very shortly after, and you'll be hearing the decision.
"We can't let atrocities happen. In our world, we can't let that happen, because of the power of the United States, the power of our country, when we can stop it."
Mr Trump's comments were followed by a warning from France early on Tuesday morning that it will retaliate against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad if evidence emerges that it was behind the suspected chlorine gas attack.
After President Emmanuel Macron and Mr Trump spoke again last night, spokesperson Benjamin Griveaux told Europe 1 radio: "If the red line has been crossed, there will be a response," adding that intelligence "in theory confirms the use of chemical weapons."
Mr Trump said on Monday night he was consulting with his military and national security advisers, but that he personally had little doubt that the attack was carried out by President Bashar al-Assad's regime, with the possible support of his allies.
"To me there's not much a doubt, but the generals will figure it out," he said.
"So we'll be looking at that barbaric act and studying what's going on. We're trying to get people in there. As you know, it's been surrounded.
"So it's very hard to get people in because not only has it been hit, it's been surrounded. And if they're innocent, why aren't they allowing people to go in and prove? Because as you know, they're claiming they didn't make the attack.
"So if it's Russia, if it's Syria, if it's Iran, if it's all of them together, we'll figure it out and we'll know the answers quite soon. So we're looking at that very, very strongly and very seriously."
[Source: By Harriet Alexander, NY; Josie Ensor, Beirut; Louis Emanuel and Verity Ryan, London, 10Apr18]
War in Syria
|This document has been published on 12Apr18 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.|