Airstrikes hailed a success as Syria threatened with further action

America warns it will launch fresh strikes if Bashar Assad’s regime continues to attack civilians.

Press Association
Last updated: 14 April 2018 - 11.10pm

Theresa May is continuing to talk to world leaders in the wake of the bombing campaign in Syria as the US warned it was “locked and loaded” for fresh strikes.

The Prime Minister, Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron hailed the airstrikes a “success” after chemical weapons facilities were targeted in joint overnight raids.

Russia lost its bid to secure a resolution at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council condemning the “aggression” in Syria.

US ambassador Nikki Haley told the meeting President Trump has warned that America is “locked and loaded” if there is further use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The PM has not ruled out fresh action if Bashar Assad’s regime continues to attack its own people.

Mrs May insisted the decision to deploy British cruise missiles in response to the chemical attack in Douma was “both right and legal”.

She spent the evening calling world leaders, including key regional figures such as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, King Abdullah of Jordan, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, to explain why she had ordered British military involvement in the US-led strikes.

Damage to the Syrian Scientific Research Centre (SANA/AP)
Damage to the Syrian Scientific Research Centre (SANA/AP)

Mr Trump declared it was “mission accomplished” after the “perfectly executed” operation.

In separate calls, the Prime Minister spoke to the US and French presidents to discuss the offensive and the three leaders agreed it had been a “success”, a No 10 spokesman said.

Nato allies have given the action their full support, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Britain had a duty to show that Syria had not “got away with it” and it was standing up against Assad’s “barbarism”.

In an article for The Sunday Telegraph, he said: “Unless we act there is a risk of moral contamination, a coarsening and corruption of what we have until now thought to be acceptable.”

Most voters believe the Prime Minister was wrong to order bombing raids on Syria without parliamentary approval, according to a Survation poll for the Mail on Sunday.

It found that 54% opposed the move compared to 30% who backed Mrs May. But 46% still believed she was better than Jeremy Corbyn on dealing with an international crisis, with just 26% backing the Labour leader.

Speaking in Number 10, Mrs May insisted the action was “legal” and defended the decision to go ahead without securing the backing of Parliament.

She also warned Russia that the airstrikes should act as a warning over its use of chemical weapons.

But she was accused of “riding the coat-tails of an erratic US president” by the Liberal Democrats, and “taking instructions” from Washington by Labour.

Four Royal Air Force Tornado GR4s joined the co-ordinated missile strikes at 2am, launching Storm Shadow missiles at a base 15 miles west of Homs.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Mrs May said the Cabinet had taken advice from the Attorney General, National Security Adviser and military chiefs when it met on Thursday.

She added: “We agreed that is was both right and legal to take military action together with our closest allies.”

Syria conflict
An RAF Tornado taxis into its hangar at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus after taking part in the air strikes (Cpl L Matthews/MoD/PA)

Mr Corbyn said the military action against Syria was “legally questionable” and makes real accountability for war crimes less likely.

Bombs won’t save lives or bring about peace.This legally questionable action risks escalating further, as US defence…

Posted by Jeremy Corbyn on Saturday, April 14, 2018

– Survation interviewed 2,071 people online on Saturday for the Mail on Sunday.

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