Western leaders continue to discuss possible military action in Syria after a chemical attack killed dozens of people in the formerly rebel-held town of Douma last week.
US President Donald Trump has vacillated between threats of missile strikes on Assad regime targets and military installations and calls for peace between the US and Russia, Assad’s main international sponsor.
On Wednesday, Trump tweeted:”Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”
In the last 24 hours, he has gone on to blame the poor state US-Russia relations on Robert Mueller’s ongoing Trump-Russia collusion investigation, call for an end to the “arms race”, and now denies he said any military attack would take place.
Earlier today, Trump tweeted: “Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!”
Meanwhile, in the UK Theresa May has summoned a cabinet meeting to discuss possible UK military action in Syria as part of a coalition with the US and France in response to the suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma.
Sources close to the Conservative leader report she is ready to take “decisive action” without first seeking Parliamentary consent, but Labour, SNP, and other opposition MPs, alongside a number of rebel Conservatives, have called on the prime minister to first consult parliament.
The prime minister does not need parliamentary backing to launch military action in Syria, but she could find her minority government losing critical backbench support if she goes ahead without a thorough debate in parliament on the issue. MPs are due to return to Westminster from the Easter recess on Monday.
The British public have not been convinced of the case for UK military involvement against the Assad regime, despite a series of alleged chemical attacks on the Syrian people throughout the seven-year civil war. Even though most Britons believe a chemical attack has been perpetrated by the Assad regime, only 22% of Britons would support a cruise missile attack against the Syrian military and 43% oppose such an action, according to YouGov poll.