Belfast Telegraph

DUP backs Theresa May's decision to authorise air strikes in Syria

The DUP has backed Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to authorise air strikes in Syria.

A series of missile strikes were launched last night against Syria by the US, UK and France in response to the suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma a week ago.

The strikes began at 2am BST and destroyed important infrastructure at three sites connected to the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons programme, according to the allies.

DUP MP Nigel Doods, reacting to the air strikes, said: “First and foremost we salute the courage of our brave servicemen and women. They have carried out their duty with typical discipline and valour.

“The prime minister has the full authority, on the basis of all the information at her disposal, to order the type of military action which has been carried out this morning and we reject any suggestion that she was not entitled to do so.

“We are reassured that the military action is strictly targeted and limited in its purpose. Also that it is not about a wider intervention in the Syrian civil war which would, in our view, be counter productive.

“Given the context of the recent international response to the use of a nerve agent in the UK, the clear targeted purpose of the strikes, and the repeated blocking by Russia of diplomatic solutions through the UN, we believe the Prime Minister was justified in standing with our American and French allies in this concerted action.”

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Prime Minister Theresa May during a press conference in 10 Downing Street, London on the air strikes against Syria. Simon Dawson/PA Wire

At a press conference in Downing Street, Mrs May said: “There is no graver decision for a prime minister than to commit our forces to combat and this is the first time I have had to do so.

“As always, they have served our country with the greatest professionalism and bravery, and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

“We would have preferred an alternative path but on this occasion there was none.

“We cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised, either in Syria, on the streets of the UK or elsewhere."

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Colum Eastwood

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood MLA said: “Air strikes and military intervention have not and will not help to solve the ongoing issues in Syria. Parliament should have been recalled and consulted before the British Government pressed ahead with military action in Syria.

"Any foreign policy should be set by and consulted upon by the entire Parliament, not through a solo run by Theresa May or dictated by any US President.

“The violence and bloodshed that is happening in Syria is horrific. Any military intervention threatens to escalate the conflict even further.

“International cooperation is required to help end Assad’s brutal regime and deliver a strategy for peace in Syria.”

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