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Theresa May faces British MPs over Syria strikes

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    May has faced criticism over UK’s involvement in launching coordinated attacks in Syria [Simon Dawson/AFP]

    Britain’s prime minister is about to face questions in parliament about UK’s decision to launch coordinated strikes on Syria with American and French forces without parliamentary approval. 

    Theresa May is giving a statement in the House of Commons on the coordinated attacks by the US, UK and France on three sites allegedly linked to the production of chemical weapons in Syria.

    Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hill, reporting from London on Monday, said: “She will seek to fend off some of the very fierce criticism she has faced over the weekend from opposition parties and some in her own party, who say she rushed to take this decision to launch strikes along with the French and the Americans over Syria, which she failed to seek parliamentary approval for.”

    Many opposition MPs have questioned May’s decision to join the US-led attack, saying that they should have been consulted before the campaign begun.

    The opposition Labour Party has called the attack “legally questionable”.

    “Britain should be playing a leadership role to bring about a ceasefire in the conflict, not taking instructions from Washington and putting British military personnel in harm’s way,” said Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, in a statement on Saturday.

    “Theresa May should have sought parliamentary approval, not trailed after Donald Trump.”

    For its part, the Scottish National Party says it will force a vote on the issue. 

    Since the Iraq war in 2003, under Britain’s constitutional convention the parliament expects an opportunity to debate the matter if British troops are to be involved in military combat.

    Saturday’s strikes, which came in response to a suspected chemical attack on the former rebel stronghold of Douma on April 7, targeted the sites near Damascus as well as in the province of Homs.

    Confirming Britain’s involvement in the attack, May said on Saturday: “We would have preferred an alternative path. But on this occasion there is none.”

    She said the attacks were not about “regime change” or “intervening in a civil war”, but were to “deter the use of chemical weapons” by the Syrian government.

    View the original article: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/04/theresa-faces-british-mps-syria-strikes-180416143650161.html

    After her statement, May is expected to ask the speaker of the parliament to grant an emergency debate.

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