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United Kingdom sends submarines to Syria, ready to strike within 24 hours

United Kingdom sends submarines to Syria, ready to strike within 24 hours

The UK is gearing up to take military action against Syria - and it could come as soon as Thursday.

'Cabinet agreed on the need to take action to alleviate humanitarian distress and to deter the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, ' Downing Street said in a statement.

Though it is expected that May will get the approval from ministers to join the action, the Telegraph suggested a discussion will be had with the U.S. and France before the final decision is made.

In the call, the two leaders had agreed that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "had established a pattern of risky behaviour in relation to the use of chemical weapons", Downing Street said. "The use of chemical weapons can not go unchallenged".

"They agreed to keep working closely together on the worldwide response", the statement concluded.

Russian media reported yesterday that Syrian government forces had seized control of the city at the centre of the escalating tensions, Douma, where the attack is said to have taken place.

"As the President noted on April 8, the chemical weapons attack by the Syrian regime against innocent civilians in Duma, Syria on April 7 was horrifying, and demands an immediate response from the worldwide community", he added.

But British involvement in further military intervention is controversial at home, in a country still haunted by its role in the US-led invasion of Iraq.

May, also speaking earlier on Wednesday, said all the indications were that the Syrian authorities were responsible for the chemical attack in the town of Douma and that such shocking assaults could not go unchallenged.

May recalled the ministers from their Easter holiday for the meeting in Downing Street to discuss Britain's response to what she has cast as a barbaric attack that can not go unchallenged.

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British opposition lawmakers have called on May to give Parliament a vote before any military action.

A YouGov poll in The Times conducted this week found that 43 percent of voters oppose strikes in Syria, with 34 percent unsure and only 22 percent supportive.

Downing Street said the Cabinet agreed the use of chemical weapons in Syria must not go "unchallenged", but gave no immediate details of United Kingdom involvement in any military action against the Assad regime.

Britain has been launching air strikes in Syria from its military base in Cyprus, but only against targets linked to the Islamic State militant group.

"Cabinet agreed the Prime Minister should continue to work with allies in the United States and France to co-ordinate an worldwide response".

Opposition Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable told the BBC that parliament "can and should be recalled immediately" to hold a vote on the latest possible action.

"The position is a very risky one because of Russian involvement, also because we have an erratic president of the United States".

Meanwhile, Russia forcefully denied that Syria had used any chemical weapons at all.

Other members of May's Conservative party have urged restraint in a highly fraught situation.

Julian Lewis, the chair of the House of Commons' Defence Committee, told Sky News the Prime Minister should be considering "smarter methods of warfare" such as a cyber attack, rather than missile strikes.