British lawmakers to debate motion on Syria airstrikes

London, Dec 2 (IANS) The British government published a motion calling for military action against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

British members of the parliament are scheduled to hold a one-day debate and vote on the motion on Wednesday to decide whether British airstrikes against IS should be extended from Iraq to Syria, Xinhua reported.

Noting that IS “poses a direct threat” to Britain, the motion said it “supports Her Majesty’s government in taking military action, specifically airstrikes, exclusively against IS in Syria.”

It ruled out deploying British troops in ground combat operations in Syria.

The motion also noted “the requests from France, the US and regional allies for UK military assistance” and acknowledged “the importance of seeking to avoid civilian casualties, using Britain’s particular capabilities”.

“I will be making the arguments and I hope as many members of parliament across all parties will support me as possible,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday.

“The motion talks about the necessity of taking military action against IS in Syria and Iraq, but it is part of a broader strategy,” he added.

“It’s about politics and diplomacy and the humanitarian aid, all of which we need to bring to bear to bring peace to Syria but to make sure we protect our national interest of fighting against this appalling terrorist organisation,” the prime minister said.

The Labour Party, the country’s largest opposition party, is still split over British military involvement in Syria.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn remains opposed to extending airstrikes to Syria, while some senior members in his shadow cabinet back the military intervention.

Corbyn has decided to allow his MPs a free vote on the motion, meaning that Labour MPs can decide according to their own judgment, regardless of their party leader’s preferences.

“I hope every MP will recognise tomorrow there’s no hiding place on whipping or anything else, you have got to make up your own mind,” he said.

“It seems to me we’re stepping into something potentially rather dangerous and unknown but also when you bomb in Raqqa or anywhere else, any other place, you kill people,” he warned.

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