US considers more sanctions for Russia, UK and France defend joint strikes on Syria

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The U.S. weighs new sanctions on Russia. They’re predicated on Moscow’s support for the Bashar Al-Assad government in Syria.

Also, Western capitals defended their military actions against three Syrian facilities, stressing the limited nature of the strikes. CGTN’s Nathan King reports.

With protestors outside, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Theresa May stressed to the British parliament the limited nature of the attacks.

“This was not about intervening in a civil war, and it was not about regime change. It was about a limited and targeted effective strike that sought to alleviate the humanitarian suffering of the Syrian people by degrading the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons capability and deterring their use,” explained the British PM.

May also stressed that the actions were in the UK’s national interest but opposition figures said the UK was just doing Washington’s bidding. “Mr. Speaker, this statement serves as a reminder that the Prime Minister is accountable to this parliament not to the whims of the U.S. President,” said Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party Leader.

The French parliament also debated the strikes. Several lawmakers criticized the action carried out without the authorization of the United Nations.

French President Emmanuel Macron defended the strikes and said the US and its allies now have a wider responsibility in the country beyond battling ISIL. “A humanitarian responsibility on the ground and a long-term responsibility to create peace,” said Macron.

But it is unclear what efforts, if any, the U.S., the UK and France will make to try to diplomatically end Syria’s seven year civil war. With relations between Russia and the Western allies at a new low, it’s not clear how any such effort would even start.

The three allies have also vowed to strike again if chemical weapons are used in Syria again, reserving the right to do so without waiting for the results of any international investigation or any United Nations Security Council resolutions.