British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Saturday she had authorized British forces to conduct precision air-launched cruise missile strikes on Syria to weaken its chemical weapons capability, saying there was no alternative to military action.
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 said.
The strike, conducted with the United States and France, was “limited and targeted”, designed to minimize any civilian casualties, May said.
The defence ministry reported the initial indications were that the precision weapons and meticulous target planning had “resulted in a successful attack”.
“This is not about intervening in a civil war. It is not about regime change,” May said in a statement.
She said the strike was a response to significant evidence including intelligence showing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government was responsible for attack using chemical weapons in Douma in Syria last Saturday that killed up to 75 people including children.
Responding to a question about why she did not seek parliamentary approval before launching military strikes on Syria, flouting convention, May reiterated that she felt the action was necessary.
She said the action was taken “in a timely fashion” in response to last weekend’s alleged chemical weapons attack.
“For operational security reasons, it was right we acted in the way we did,” May said.
May said she would make a statement to Parliament on Monday.
U.S. President Donald Trump said during his address to the nation on Saturday night that Washington and its allies were prepared to sustain their offensive until Assad stopped his use of chemical weapons.
More details to follow.