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British Parliament Approves Anti-ISIS Airstrike Campaign in Syria

British Parliament Approves Anti-ISIS Airstrike Campaign in Syria

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

The British parliament has approved a plan put forth by the kingdom’s Prime Minister David Cameron to conduct airstrikes in Syria against terrorist group ISIS.

The motion received 397 votes for and 223 votes against.

Speaking at the 10-hour debate, Cameron voiced his hope to “see a new Syrian transitional government whose troops will then be [Britain’s] allies.”

Meanwhile, leader of the Labour party Jeremy Corbyn, who is anti-war, said the approval of the airstrikes would constitute “yet another ill-fated twist in this never-ending war on terror.”

As the parliamentarians debated the motion, thousands of British citizens gathered in London demonstrations against the potential airstrikes, the Telegraph reported.

The premier had announced last month that he would seek parliament’s approval for the aerial bombardment campaign, after he met with French President François Hollande in Paris to discuss cooperation on counterterrorism efforts.

“The United Kingdom will do all in our power to support our friend and ally France to defeat this evil death cult,” Cameron said at a press conference following the meeting.

Cameron expressed his “firm support” of Hollande’s decision to increase France’s attacks against ISIS in Syria, saying he believes Britain should follow suit but that it is up to the kingdom’s parliament to decide on the matter.

Although the Royal Air Force has been carrying out airstrikes in Iraq for more than a year, the British parliament blocked Cameron’s request to carry out an attack on Syria two years ago.

In November of this year, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution calling on member states to take “all necessary measures…to prevent and suppress terrorist acts” committed by ISIS, in compliance with international law and the United Nations Charter.

According to the Charter, member states are guaranteed the right to “individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs” against it. While the article was initially viewed as applying to attacks by a state, this interpretation was developed to encompass action against non-state armed groups.

International military action against the terrorist group has been increasing in recent months.

Following the deadly attacks in Paris, France dropped 20 bombs on the ISIS-held Syrian city of Raqqa, striking 30 targets. French jets also struck two ISIS targets in Iraq on Monday, Agence France-Presse reported.

Hollande is seeking to increase international cooperation and coordination on military actions against ISIS and said France will “intensify” its attacks in Syria.

In October of last year, the United States formed an international coalition aiming to destroy ISIS. One month after the coalition was formed, the US, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates began its strikes on ISIS targets inside Syria.

In October of this year, Russia began launching airstrikes in Syria at President Bashar al-Assad’s request, much to the US’ dismay.

The United States also recently launched airstrikes in Libya that killed the head of the Islamic State group in the North African country.

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