x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

UK to put forward resolution on Syria

A statement from Prime Minister David Cameron's office said Britain would seek a measure 'authorising necessary measures to protect civilians' in Syria.

LONDON // Britain said it will put forward a resolution today to the UN Security Council condemning the Syrian government for the alleged chemical attack that has killed hundreds of civilians.

A statement from Prime Minister David Cameron's office said Britain would seek a measure "authorising necessary measures to protect civilians" in Syria under Chapter 7 of the UN charter. Military force is one of the options that can be authorised under that section.

The resolution will be presented to the UN Security Council in New York today, officials said.

In the past, Russia — a permanent member of the UN Security Council — has opposed actions against Syria, a longtime ally.

The decision to seek UN backing came as momentum appeared to build for Western military action against Syria, with the US and France saying they are in position for a military strike.

Cameron has called the British Parliament back into an emergency session tomorrow for a debate on Syria and a vote, which is expected to endorse or reject possible military reprisals against the Syrian government.

Some British politicians have questioned whether a military strike would be legal under international law unless it is backed by the UN Security Council. Britain's opposition Labour Party had indicated a desire for UN support in advance of the debate and vote.

The prospect of a US-led intervention into Syria's civil war stems from the West's assertion - still not endorsed by UN inspectors - that President Al Bashar Assad's government was responsible for an alleged chemical attack on civilians outside Damascus on August 21, which Assad denies.

Doctors Without Borders said that attack killed 355 people.

A UN inspection team reported today that evidence suggests that some kind of chemical "substance" was used.