​Labour may back Syria airstrikes if Cameron forces vote

Royal Air Force Tornado jets (Reuters / Russell Cheyne)

Royal Air Force Tornado jets (Reuters / Russell Cheyne)

The Labour Party may support extending airstrikes against the Islamic State (formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Iraq to Syria in the wake of the Tunisia massacre, despite opposing a vote on targeting President Bashar Assad’s forces in 2013.

One senior Labour
source, quoted anonymously by The Times, said MPs wanted to see a
clear plan, but had not ruled out backing airstrikes if another
vote came about.

MORE: Will Cameron push for another vote to bomb Syria?

Cameron learnt from the 2013 vote the importance of taking
people along with him, setting out aims, resources and the need
for international agreement.

All those things will be taken into consideration.

The source also pointed out that while the aborted 2013 bombing
would have targeted the Assad regime, a vote on attacks would
this time be directed at Islamic State forces.

The target is ISIS and not Assad,” the source said.
We would need the government to come forward and tell us
what they want to do. We are all aware of the size of the

Another source, also quoted by The Times, said: “The prime
minister thinks it is important that people realize the link
between British holidaymakers being killed and [ISIS] having safe
havens in Syria or elsewhere.

On Tuesday, a former UK spy chief expressed support for drone
strikes in Syria.

Speaking to The Guardian, Sir David Omand, formerly head of GCHQ,
said that once the UK was armed with good intelligence, ISIS
should be fought using drones.

To allow such intelligence to be used effectively at source,
parliament should authorize British forces including RAF Reaper
RPAS [remotely-piloted air systems, commonly called unmanned
drones] to operate across the border from Iraq into Syria when
” he said.

READ MORE: Cameron vows ‘full spectrum’ British
response to ISIS Tunisia shooting

Addressing MPs on Monday, Cameron gave the strongest indication
yet that he feels Britain’s strategy for confronting ISIS should
be reframed to include airstrikes on Syria.

We do need to crush [ISIS] in Iraq and Syria,” he said,
making it clear that in his view “military solutions
were needed.

Since parliament approved airstrikes on ISIS targets in Iraq in
September 2014, the Royal Air Force has flown more than 300
bombing raids.

The RAF is not authorized to operate over Syria, however,
following the embarrassing defeat of the government motion in
August 2013.

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