NYT Journo: Strikes haven't changed 'painful status quo' in Syria

Theresa May

Corbyn won approval for a debate on parliament's rights in regard to British military action on Tuesday, and parliament debated long into the evening on Monday on the government's strategy in Syria, particularly regarding civilians there.

May, who has regained confidence after winning support for her tough stance on Syria and Russian Federation, said she was driven by the need to decide quickly on joining the United States and France in Saturday's strikes, made in retaliation for a suspected gas attack.

"Very careful scientific analysis was used to determine where best to target these missiles to maximise the destruction of stockpiled chemicals and to minimise any risk to the surrounding area", she said.

May said she recognized the importance of consulting parliament, but added there will always be circumstances where the government is able to act for operational reasons without first having a debate in parliament.

The leaders of the opposition Scottish National Party and Liberal Democrats have also criticised May and there is the possibility of a vote in parliament later Monday that could embarrass the prime minister if she loses. "And it was a decision that required the evaluation of intelligence and information, much of which was of a nature that could not be shared with parliament".

"It was the world saying that we have had enough of the use of chemical weapons, the erosion of that taboo that has been in place for 100 years has gone too far under (Syrian President) Bashar al-Assad", he said.

"She authorized military action with no mandate", said one Conservative lawmaker on condition of anonymity.

The document said the United Kingdom met three demands under worldwide law - that there is convincing evidence of extreme humanitarian distress, there is no practicable alternative to the use of force, and the action is necessary and proportionate.

Responding to May, Corbyn accused the prime minister of being drawn into the action at the behest of the US.

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Laura Smith MP for Crewe and Nantwich asked: "I wondered, can the Prime Minister tell us at what point the president instructed her that military action would be taken?"

"The prime minister leads a minority government", he said.

"This means engaging with all parties that are involved in the conflict, including Iran, Israel, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the USA to ensure there is an immediate ceasefire".

A Kremlin statement said Mr Putin and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, agreed during a telephone conversation that the air strikes had damaged the chances of achieving a political resolution of the conflict in Syria. "There is no more serious issue than the life and death matters of military action".

In 2013, British MPs had voted down taking military action against Damascus.

The strikes, carried out alongside the United States, mark May's first major military action since coming to power nearly two years ago. The SNP's Ian Blackford said the timetable meant a vote had been "perfectly possible".

"Once again we have been dragged into military action with little regard for the humanitarian [situation] on the ground and no long-term strategic plan".

"A policy of inaction would also have consequences", Chris Leslie, the party's former economy spokesman said as he backed the strikes before adding a pointed attack on his leader.

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