The Latest: British PM summons Cabinet to discuss Syria

The Latest: British PM summons Cabinet to discuss Syria
The Associated Press

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the Syrian conflict (all times local):

12:15 p.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has summoned her Cabinet back from vacation to discuss military action against Syria over an alleged chemical weapons attack.

May has indicated she wants Britain to join in any U.S.-led strikes in response to the suspected attack near Damascus. She has said the use of chemical weapons “cannot go unchallenged.”

The U.S., France and Britain have been consulting about launching a military strike, and President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that missiles “will be coming.”

Britain’s Ministry of Defense refused to comment on reports that Royal Navy submarines armed with cruise missiles have been dispatched to within range of Syria.

British opposition lawmakers are calling for Parliament to be given a vote on military action. That is not a legal requirement, though it is a convention.

Syrian opposition activists and rescuers say a chemical attack launched by government forces in a rebel-held area near Damascus late Saturday killed more than 40 people, allegations denied by the Syrian government.

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11:50 a.m.

France says it will decide in the coming days whether to launch a military strike over a suspected chemical attack in Syria.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Thursday that President Emmanuel Macron would decide whether to launch an attack over the “non-respect of the international convention against chemical weapons,” which is a “red line” for France.

Speaking to reporters in Romania, Le Drian says: “We are very firm…as the president of the Republic said…. this situation can’t be tolerated.”

Asked about consulting the U.S, which has also threatened military action, Le Drian said “France is autonomous in taking its decisions.”

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday warned of imminent military action in Syria over a suspected poison gas attack near Damascus that Syrian opposition activists and first responders say killed more than 40 people. Syria has denied carrying out such an attack.

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10 a.m.

The Russian military says the Syrian government is now in full control of town on the outskirts of Damascus that was held by the rebels and that was the site of suspected chemical attack over the weekend.

The Defense Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that the situation in the town of Douma, just east of the Syrian capital, is “normalizing.”

More than 13,500 Syrian rebel fighters and their families have left Douma this month under a so-called evacuation deal between the rebels and the Russian military, a top ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.

The Russian ministry says 1,500 left the town in the past 24 hours.

There was no immediate confirmation or indication from Assad’s government that Syrian troops entered Douma on Thursday.

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