Britain's Theresa May Says Airstrikes on Syria in British National Interest.

Press. Voanews.
British Prime Minister Theresa May invoked the recent poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in defending her decision to order British warplanes to take part in U.S.-led strikes against Syria without first seeking parliamentary approval.

She told a packed House of Commons that it was in the “national interest” to prevent future chemical attacks “within Syria, on the streets of the U.K. or elsewhere.” And she dismissed critics’ arguments that she was obeying U.S. instructions. “We have not done this action because President Trump asked us,” she said. “We have done this because it was the right thing to do.”

She added, “This was not about intervening in a civil war, nor about regime change.” The aim, May said, was to degrade Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile with “limited, targeted and effective strikes” while guarding against triggering an escalation in the conflict and avoiding civilian casualties.

Ready for cyber attack
Her statement came as British officials claimed that there had been a 20-fold jump in disinformation being spread by Kremlin-linked social media accounts since Saturday’s U.S.-led airstrikes on facilities Washington said were part of a Syrian government chemical weapons program.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Britain’s security agencies were prepared for a full-scale cyber attack targeting critical national infrastructure by Russia. He told the BBC that social media dirty tricks might be a prelude for more disruptive reprisals by the Kremlin — despite the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin, in condemning Saturday’s airstrikes on his Syrian counterpart and ally, President Bashar al-Assad, indicated Russia might withhold from retaliating, saying, “History will set things right.”

The high risk that Saturday’s strikes might have provoked some kind of clash between Western and Russian forces, and still has the potential to do so, according to British officials, was illustrated they say, by an undersea cat-and-mouse game in the hours before the strikes involving a British submarine. A British Astute class sub was unable, they say, to launch missiles because it couldn’t maneuver into range as it was forced to evade a Russian sub and two frigates, which were hunting it.
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