Humanitarian grounds justify Syria attack, says Theresa May

Fighter jets were seen taking off from a British Royal Air Force base in Cyprus early on Saturday

"This action risks not just further escalating the civil war in Syria but also a unsafe escalation of worldwide tensions", said the leader of the left-wing Scottish National Party, the third-biggest force in the British parliament.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he was prepared to sustain the response until the government of Assad stopped its use of chemical weapons.

The British prime minister is expected to be criticised for her decision to join the United States and France in launching military action without seeking parliamentary approval.

Russian Federation is believed to be allied with Bashar al-Assad's government.

"It was right to take the action that we have done in the timing that we have done", she said.

"There is no practicable alternative to the use of force to degrade and deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime", May said in a televised statement.

Britain's defense ministry said "very careful scientific analysis" had been applied to maximize the destruction of stockpiled chemicals while minimizing any risk of contamination to surrounding areas.

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Mattis appealed at the meeting for more time to gather evidence to prove the Assad regime was responsible for the attack. But the administration appeared determined to deliver on the president's threat to punish the use of poison gas.

But shadow attorney general Baroness Chakrabarti questioned the Government's justification for the air strikes, telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "You can't use force under global law just to punish Syria for bad behaviour".

May said she would address parliament on Monday about the strikes.

The Prime Minister will tell MPs on Monday that the strikes were in the national interest because the use of chemical weapons can not be normalised, including in the UK.

"I have done so because I judge this action to be in Britain's national interest", she added.

"Corbyn will rail against military action, claiming it could widen the conflict, but if he won't sanction military action against a regime that is using chemical weapons on its own people, when would he ever sanction it?" he told AFP.

But May said intelligence pointed to the Syrian government being behind the suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma last Saturday, and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said speed was "essential".

"If the West had acted against Assad's chemical weapons attacks in 2013, we might not have had to embark on military action now".

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