Listen to this article
The UK defence secretary Michael Fallon has called for parties in Syria to “redouble” efforts to reach a political settlement, after the US launched a missile strike on one of Bashar al-Assad’s air base.
But he suggested that further US air strikes would take place if President Assad uses chemical weapons again. “That is the message we take from last night,” the minister told the BBC.
The UK “fully supports” the US strike against Mr Assad, in which it was not asked to participate, Mr Fallon said. In 2013 the British parliament voted against military action, effectively tying the hands of the then prime minister David Cameron.
Mr Fallon said that Mr Trump’s strike, which took place after the suspected use of chemical weapons, was “designed to deter the regime from planning similar gas attacks”. He said that the US had worked “very hard to get United Nations support” for action, but that it had become clear any resolution would be vetoed. A Downing St spokesperson also said the US attacks had UK support.