Trump talks with British, French leaders over strikes on Syria

Trump softens rhetoric on potential Syria strike

In a statement, Mrs May said: "The Syrian regime has a history of using chemical weapons against its own people in the most cruel and abhorrent way".

She said the strikes would "send a clear signal to anyone else who believes they can use chemical weapons with impunity".

"It was right to take the action that we have done in the timing that we have done", she said.

In a televised address from the White House, Mr Trump said: "A short time ago, I ordered the United States Armed Forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad".

The rush to swift action following an alleged chemical weapons attack on the rebel-held town of Douma on April 9 was condemned by several British opposition parties who wanted parliament recalled.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Saturday that the United Kingdom is clear that the Assad regime is responsible for Douma chemical attack and confirmed United Kingdom hit a specific and limited set of targets in Syria.

In attacks alongside U.S. and French allies on Saturday, four British Tornado jets fired Storm Shadow missiles at a Syrian military base suspected of holding chemical weapons components.

The small Northern Irish political party that props up her government said May was justified in taking such action.

When asked if Syria's Assad could remain leader as long as he refrained from further use of chemical weapons, May said: "This was about, as I have said and you have recognized, this was specifically about the use of chemical weapons".

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The group said it "strongly condemned" the action and accused May of "sanctioning killing" at US President Donald Trump's behest.

It returns from its break on Monday, when May will face MPs' questions on the strikes.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Syria's use of chemical weapons could not be tolerated but questioned whether the strikes would halt their use or contribute to ending the civil war.

"Theresa May should have sought parliamentary approval, not trailed after Donald Trump". The strikes at 0100 GMT were 15 miles (24 kilometres) west of Homs.

May has repeatedly said that the missile strike on Syria was not about "regime change".

Professor Iain Begg, Research Fellow at the European Institute and Co-Director of the Dahrendorf Forum at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), told Xinhua: "A volley of bombs may help the USA and its allies feel they have reacted in a timely and proportionate manner to the undoubted horror of the use by the Syrian regime of chemical weapons, but the inevitable worry will be that they have not thought through what happens next".

Former prime minister David Cameron lost a parliamentary vote on air strikes against Assad's forces in 2013 when 30 Conservative lawmakers voted against action, with many Britons wary of entering another conflict after interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya failed to bring stability to the region.

May's office said she had spoken to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the prime ministers of Italy, Australia and Canada about the strikes.

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