Date
22 January 2017
George Osborne said the West has not done enough to fight Islamic State militants. Photo: Bloomberg
George Osborne said the West has not done enough to fight Islamic State militants. Photo: Bloomberg

Britain seeking parliamentary support to join Syria airstrikes

Britain plans to participate in Syrian airstrikes if there is a political consensus to do so, Treasury chief George Osborne told the BBC.

Osborne, a close political ally of Prime Minister David Cameron, also said the West has not done enough to fight Islamic State militants who control parts of Syria and Iraq, the Wall Street Journal reported.

He said Cameron’s government will seek parliamentary approval to extend the United Kingdom’s current involvement in Iraq airstrikes to Syria.

The prime minister and other senior government ministers believe “there is a strong case” for doing so, but that there must be support for the move from parliament, Osborne told the broadcaster in an interview.

Cameron earlier said Britain will take “thousands” of Syrian refugees, marking a major U-turn in his response to Europe’s escalating migrant crisis following a public outcry to do more, WSJ said.

The prime minister was due to provide more detail on his refugee response on Monday in parliament.

In 2013, lawmakers, principally from the opposition Labour Party, rejected his proposal to intervene militarily in Syria following allegations that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime used chemical weapons on Syrian civilians during the civil war, the newspaper said.

The British military has been participating in airstrikes in Iraq since September as part of an international coalition supporting the Iraqi government forces in their fight against Islamic State militants.

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