Syria chemical attack and UK response

Following the appalling chemical weapons attack on civilians in Douma, Syria, 75 people, including young children, have lost their lives with as many as 500 further casualties.

I understand there is concern regarding the UK armed forces intervention in Syria in response to the barbaric chemical weapon attack. British, French and American armed forces conducted co-ordinated and targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian Regime’s chemical weapons capability.

Chemical weapons are not only inhumane and unlawful, therefore the UK’s intervention is about preventing further humanitarian catastrophe and restoring the international stance against the use of chemical weapons. The Prime Minister made it clear in her speech following the air strikes that we are not intervening in a civil war or trying to change regime.

Military action is only ever taken when there is no plausible alternative and we would have preferred an alternative path of intervention. Unfortunately, since 2013, the United Nations has been blocked by Russia from acting against the use of chemical weapons by President Assad and, although of a much lower magnitude, the use of nerve agent on the streets of the UK is more evidence that action needs to be taken against the use of chemical weapons, something we have worked so hard to prevent over the last 100 years.

Whilst Parliamentary scrutiny is essential, it can be done, as in this case, after the event in the interest of safety for our Military. It should also be remembered that the Government is in possession of critical sensitive information, which they are unable to disclose to Parliament in the interest of national security.

In her speech in Parliament, the Prime Minister stated: ‘We cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised – either within Syria, on the streets of the UK or elsewhere. We must reinstate the global consensus that chemical weapons cannot be used.’