Syria air strikes: Action showed enough is enough – Boris Johnson

Media captionAmateur footage shows strikes on a military research facility in Damascus, while state TV shows the damage

Air strikes in Syria were about saying “enough is enough” over the use of chemical weapons, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said.

Mr Johnson said the action by the US, UK and France would not “turn the tide” of the conflict and was not about regime change.

But he said he hoped it would act as a deterrent to more “barbaric” chemical attacks.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has questioned the legality of the action.

Downing Street has published its legal case for its part in the strikes, which targeted military bases.

Sites near Damascus and Homs were hit in response to an alleged chemical attack on the town of Douma on 7 April.

Both Syria and Russia – which provides military support to the Syrian government – has reacted angrily to the action.

‘No to chemical weapons’

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Johnson stressed the “limits” of the intervention were to stop an apparent erosion of the “taboo” of chemical weapons.

“The rest of the Syrian war must proceed as it will,” he said, adding that the “primary purpose is to say no to the use of barbaric chemical weapons”.

Mr Johnson said he did not know how Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would respond, adding that if there was a repeat chemical attack, “clearly, with allies, we would study what the options were”.

Opposition parties have criticised the lack of a parliamentary vote before the air strikes.

Mr Johnson promised MPs would “have their say” when Theresa May makes a Commons statement on Monday.

Mr Corbyn told the Marr show Mrs May “could easily” have recalled Parliament or delayed her decision until MPs returned on Monday.

Speaking on the Marr Show, he also called for a War Powers Act, “so governments do get held accountable to Parliament for what they do in our name”.

He added that Labour would continue to push for a debate and a vote on the intervention.

Earlier, Conservative Party deputy chairman James Cleverly told BBC Breakfast the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) believed the Assad regime had used chemical weapons in the past, and credible intelligence showed an “ability and willingness to do so in the future”.

The UK believes the Assad regime was responsible for the attack on civilians in Douma, while the US and France say they have proof.

But Syria has always denied any chemical use and says the attack was fabricated by rebels.

Trump warning

On Saturday, the Ministry of Defence said eight Storm Shadow missiles had been launched by four RAF Tornados at a former missile base, 15 miles west of Homs.

It is thought President Bashar al-Assad’s regime had been stockpiling materials used to make chemical weapons there, it said.

A spokesperson added the facility was located “some distance” from “concentrations of civilian habitation”, and the risk of contamination to the surrounding area had been minimised.

The UK and US have said the strikes were successful, with President Trump warning of further action if there are more chemical attacks.

On Saturday, the UN Security Council rejected a resolution drafted by Russia while all Nato allies have given the military action their full support.

There has been no confirmation of any civilian casualties.

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