Britain says it will delay any military action against Syria until after the United Nations inspectors publish their report on an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria.
The British government said in a motion set to be presented to the parliament for voting that a chemical attack last Wednesday in Syria was carried out by the government forces but everyone should follow the United Nations process only “as far as possible”. However, the motion said the UN inspectors team’s “mandate” is only to say whether chemical weapons were used, implying Britain and its western allies will take military action regardless. “[Britain] welcomes the work of the United Nations investigating team currently in Damascus. Whilst noting that the team's mandate is to confirm whether chemical weapons were used and not to apportion blame,” it said. “[After the team report to the UNSC] every effort should be made to secure a Security Council Resolution backing military action before any such action is taken. Before any direct British involvement in such action a further vote of the House of Commons will take place,” it added. The motion also addressed the legality question of a military attack on Syria saying “the use of chemical weapons is a war crime under customary law and a crime against humanity - and that the principle of humanitarian intervention provides a sound legal basis for taking action”. It did not, however, explain the legal basis for a war on Syria not authorized by the UN Security Council, where any resolution involving military action on the country is almost sure to be vetoed by Russia and China.