On April 14th, 2018, the United Kingdom, along with its American and French allies, conducted a series of airstrikes against chemical weapons installations in Syria. This action was not about regime change. They were limited and effective strikes, specifically targeted to destroy as much of the Assad regime’s chemical weapons capabilities.
These strikes followed a chemical attack on Douma, a rebel-held city in Syria, on April 7th, that all the evidence indicates was perpetrated by the Assad regime. This horrific attack killed up to 75 people.
The Assad regime has a proven record of using chemical weapons against its own citizens, such as at Khan Sheikhoun in 2017. The Assad regime and its Russian enablers are currently denying the OPCW from access to Douma, and on April 10th, Russia used its Security Council veto to block a UN investigation from identifying the culprit for the Douma attack.
The United Kingdom stands against the use of chemical weapons and will not stand by and let the Assad regime set the precedent that you can use chemical weapons on civilians with impunity. We must be active in defending the global rules and standards that keep us safe, and in this case the Assad regime and Russia have thwarted all our diplomatic efforts to do so. Therefore, we worked with our allies to degrade the Assad regime’s chemical weapons capability, and deter the use of chemical weapons.
The United Kingdom remains committed to international efforts to end the civil war in Syria. This includes working with our allies to complete the defeat of ISIS, and taking part in diplomatic efforts to bring an end to the war. We have also committed £2.46 billion to our humanitarian response to the crisis – our largest ever response to a single humanitarian crisis – and are putting pressure on the Assad regime to allow humanitarian aid into cut-off areas.