United Kingdom hit a specific and limited set of targets in Syria: May

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May walks out of 10 Downing Street to greet Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa in London

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May walks out of 10 Downing Street to greet Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa in London Thomson Reuters

Prime Minister Theresa May has summoned the cabinet to discuss the government's response to the suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria, a BBC News report said on Thursday.

May isn't legally required to get Parliament's backing for military action, though it is conventional for lawmakers to be given the chance to vote.

The British government has signaled it is ready to back U.S. military action against Syria, saying it is "highly likely" the Assad regime used chemical weapons on its own people and that such action could not go unchallenged.

May's announcement was made minutes after Donald Trump revealed that he had ordered the strike at 9pm on Friday, explaining in a televised statement that it was a response to the "evil and despicable" chemical attack by the Syrian regime, which took place last weekend.

Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier that Russian experts had inspected the site of the claimed attack and found no trace of chemical weapons. This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very awful regime.

The former missile base was assessed to have been used by the Syrian regime to "keep chemical weapon precursors stockpiled in breach of Syria's obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention", the MoD said in a statement.

Corbyn has written to May seeking assurance that there would be no further bombing raids and urged the government to negotiate a pause in the Syrian civil war.

May's office published a summary of the legal advice about the Syria action on Saturday, which said that global law allowed Britain to act "on an exceptional basis" to "alleviate overwhelming humanitarian suffering".

After meeting for more than two hours, the Cabinet backed May's plan to work with the USA and France "to coordinate an worldwide response". He said earlier this week that France was ready to attack the "chemical capabilities" of the Assad regime.

A separate YouGov survey on Thursday found 61 percent of people think it would be necessary for parliament to vote on military action against Syria, with just 18 percent saying it was not necessary and 21 percent undecided.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Syria's use of chemical weapons could not be tolerated but questioned whether the strikes would halt their use or contribute to ending the civil war.

In an unusual move, the Prime Minister will gather her most senior ministers in Number 10 to update them on the latest developments in the crisis, despite the fact that Parliament is still in recess.

The Prime Minister also warned Russian Federation that the air strikes should act as a warning over its use of chemical weapons.

At an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, US ambassador Nikki Haley warned if there was further use of chemical weapons in Syria, America is "locked and loaded".

Mrs May has faced criticism from across the political spectrum for failing to recall Parliament and put the plans to a vote.

At least six loud explosions were heard in Damascus, and smoke was seen rising over the city even while Trump delivered his remarks.

Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the UN, said the USA was "locked and loaded" to launch more strikes if Assad used chemical weapons again.

The U.S. has about 2,000 troops on the ground in Syria as advisers to a makeshift group of anti-Islamic State fighters known as the Syrian Democratic Forces.

Latest News