The US, Britain and France are weighing a military response after several media outlets reported, citing militants, that the Syrian authorities had used chemical weapons against civilians in the city of Douma in Eastern Ghouta of Damascus, with the infamous White Helmets posting unverified pictures and videos allegedly showing the aftermath of the chlorine gas attack.
The hashtag #NotInMyNameTheresaMay gained traction on Twitter and Instagram, as concerned users lashed out against the PM joining the US President Donald Trump in attacking Syria.
The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday that UK Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered British submarines to move within missile range of Syria in readiness for strikes against Damascus government that could begin as early as Thursday night. Cruise missiles have now been positioned within striking range of the country as speculation over a US-led response continued to mount, according to reports.
The British Prime Minister has also summoned her cabinet to brief ministers on Thursday on a “fast-moving week” amid the ratcheting up of tensions over Syria, according to The Independent.
Sky News reported that May is expected to ask the ministers to greenlight the UK’s participation in an attack spearheaded by France and the US, without consulting the Parliament. Should the approval be granted, the operation could be launched “within hours”.
Sources told The Times newspaper that UK’s Royal Air Force jets on Cyprus are ready to swoop into action if the cabinet authorizes airstrikes on Syria.
“We have planes on the tarmac in Akrotiri. We are ready,” a Whitehall source told the newspaper, as British fighter jets have been operating from the RAF Akrotiri airbase in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Earlier on Tuesday, the BBC reported that May was poised to bypass the Parliament in order to get the UK involved in a military strike against the war-torn country. Citing “well-placed sources”, the broadcaster reported that May believes there is an “urgent” need for retaliation to what the West seeks to portray as Damascus’ attack on civilians with banned chemical weapons.
Immediately after the alleged chemical attack, the United States and its allies accused the Damascus government of killing civilians with prohibited weapons. With a fact-finding mission of the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) still on its way to the site, the Western powers do not feel to be obliged to wait for the results of the international investigation into the alleged chemical attack in Syria’s Douma.