Opposition leaders have warned British Prime Minister Theresa May against rushing to attack Syria if she wins the election next month, after it emerged the government is planning to join a possible US war against the Arab country, reports say.
May’s party is holding a commanding lead over the opposition Labour Party ahead of the June election. According to an opinion poll published by research firm Kantar on Wednesday, 48 percent of voters said they would vote for the Conservative Party, while support for Labour stood at 24 percent.
The Conservative lead is enough to win a majority that could be over 100 seats, making it more difficult for Labour and other parties to stop her pushing through a vote for military action against Syria following the June 8 election.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said it was very worrying that the premier “would back military intervention against Assad in Syria outside of a wider diplomatic strategy and without UN backing.”
“May would be wise not to use Syria as a campaign tool in this election. This would come across as calculating, unconsidered, and without the best interest of the Syrian people at heart.”
According to government sources, May wanted the backing of the House of Commons in order to have the authority to join the United States in attack against Syrian forces.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn warned May last month against unilateral military action in Syria, saying the conflict would only be resolved through dialogue and international peace efforts.
“We don’t need unilateral action. We need to work through the UN but, above all, we need to bend ourselves totally to getting a political settlement in Syria,” said Corbyn, who has long been critical of London’s involvement in US-led wars across the world.
“At the end of the day, the only solution in Syria is going to be a political one. There is no other way of getting it. There has to be a reconvening quickly of the Geneva process,” Corbyn said, referring to the failed UN-brokered negotiations between the Syrian government and the so-called opposition groups, which have taken place intermittently since 2012 in the Swiss city of Geneva.
The British government has been participating in airstrikes conducted by a US-led coalition against purported Daesh (ISIL) positions in Iraq and Syria since 2014.
The coalition has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians, without being able to fulfill its declared aim of defeating Daesh.
Last month, US President Donald Trump ordered two US Navy warships in the Mediterranean to fire 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase.