British cabinet agrees need to 'take action' as meeting over Syria ends

The British cabinet has "agreed the need to take action" to alleviate humanitarian distress and to deter the further use of chemical weapons in Syria, according to a statement from the Prime Minister's Press Office Thursday night.

The move came after British cabinet ministers left Downing Street after meeting the Prime Minister Theresa May to discuss the the country's response to the suspected chemical attack in Syria.

The statement said that the cabinet had agreed that the Syrian government "has a track record of the use of chemical weapons and it is highly likely that the regime is responsible for Saturday's attack."

Following a discussion in which every member present made a contribution, cabinet agreed it was vital that the use of chemical weapons did not go unchallenged, the document said.

"The cabinet agreed the Prime Minister should continue to work with allies in the United States and France to coordinate an international response," it added.

The statement did not specify whether Britain would join the possible military action against Syria led by the United States.

Activists, local rescuers, and rebels in Syria claim that Syrian government forces used chlorine gas on Saturday in an attack in Douma, a rebel-held area near capital Damascus.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry has denied the accusation, calling rebels' claims "premeditated pretexts."

British media said that ministers are expected to back May's call to join the threatened military action.

BBC quoted unnamed sources as saying that the prime minister is prepared to take action against the Syrian government without first seeking Parliamentary consent.

But there have been calls from opposition parties and some Tories for members of parliaments to get a vote before the government's decision.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "More bombing, more killing, more war will not save life. It will just take more lives and spawn the war elsewhere."

The Lib-Dem leader Vince Cable said on his twitter account that it is "essential for Theresa May to seek Parliament approval for any action."

The prime minister could agree to launch military action without members of parliaments giving the green light first. But the recent practice has been for governments to win the backing of parliament before the British military action which has made parliamentary approval a convention.






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