UK security council unanimously backs action on Syria

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 28, 2013 10:23 AM

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's National Security Council unanimously backed action against Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday, a day after he set out the case for a targeted military strike.

"The NSC (National Security Council) agreed unanimously that the use of chemical weapons by (Syrian President) Assad was unacceptable - and the world should not stand by," Cameron said on his official Twitter feed after a meeting of the high-level security body.

A spokeswoman from Cameron's office said the NSC had agreed on a specific recommendation that would be put to government ministers on Thursday morning before parliament debated and voted on Britain's response.

Cameron's office declined to say what the recommendation was, but a government source said a military strike was one of the options being considered by the NSC. A spokesman for the prime minister said on Tuesday that plans for a possible military response were being drafted.

Unusually, every government minister who attended the NSC had spoken, the same government source said, adding that the attorney general had offered advice on the legality of any action, Britain's top soldier on the military aspect, and that a senior civil servant had supplied an intelligence briefing.

"There was discussion about what it would mean for the UK's role in the world if others acted and we didn't," the source told Reuters. "Ministers spoke about the need to be clear about the risks of inaction," the source added, saying there was an awareness that any action carried certain risks.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Andrew Osborn)