UK signals willingness to strike Assad forces in Syria

 27 Apr 2017 - 13:03

UK signals willingness to strike Assad forces in Syria
File Photo - British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

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LONDON: Britain would be willing to join the U.S. in striking against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad in response to a chemical attack, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Thursday.

Johnson said he was echoing Prime Minister Theresa May’s opinion when he said it would be “very difficult” for the U.K. to reject a U.S. request for military assistance against Assad.

“I think it would be very difficult if the U.S. has a proposal to have some sort of action in response to a chemical weapons attack,” he told BBC Radio 4.

“And if they come to us and ask for our support -- whether it's with submarine-based cruise missiles in the Med... in my view -- and I know it's also the view of the prime minister -- it would be difficult for us to say ‘No’.”

More than 100 civilians were killed in an April 4 sarin gas attack on the town of Khan Sheikhun in northwest Syria. Johnson said the attack had “unquestionably” been carried out by Assad forces.

He added that the regime had “unleashed murder upon his own citizens with weapons that were banned almost 100 years ago”.

The sarin attack led to the U.S. launching nearly 60 missiles against the air base involved in the attack.

The Syrian regime has denied the use of chemical weapons but last year a UN investigation found that chemical munitions were mainly used by regime forces.

In a later interview with LBC radio, Johnson backed away from the possibility of military action against North Korea, saying the consequences for South Korea would be too great.