Report: UK's Cameron pressing Obama for strike on Syria

British PM is urging US president to launch attack in coming week on Assad regime, The Times of London reports.

August 26, 2013 06:26
2 minute read.
US President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron hold joint press conference, May 13

Obama and Cameron 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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British Prime Minister David Cameron has allegedly been pressuring US President Barack Obama to launch a prompt military strike on Syria in response to its supposed chemical weapons attack last Wednesday, The Times of London reported Monday.

British government sources said talks between Western leaders were ongoing and that any agreed upon military action could be exercised in the coming week.

Cameron and Obama were due to speak on Monday or Tuesday in a continuation oftalks held on Saturday between the two about the Syria issue.

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey was also scheduled to meet with his British counterpart General Nick Houghton on Monday in Jordan to discuss viable options.

An unnamed British government source told the Times that the leading option for such an attack would be a "very targeted attack" launched from warships in the Mediterranean. According to the source, the UK was pushing for a launch date within the next ten days with the aim to "prevent and deter" the Syrian regime from any future WMD attacks.

Meanwhile, the UK has reportedly been preparing naval vessels for a possible US-led attack on Syria, according to London-based The Daily Telegraph.

Britain would likely be dependent on its cruise missile-carrying Trafalgar and Astute class attack submarines if it wished to join in any US-led campaign.

Defense sources say the Royal Navy has kept at least one of its submarines in the Mediterranean in recent months partly for that reason.

The UK has asserted its belief that forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad were behind a chemical weapons attack that allgedely killed hundreds on Wednesday in a suburb of Damascus.

UN weapons experts are due on Monday to inspect the site of the reported attack, amid calls from Western capitals for military action to punish the world's worst apparent chemical weapons attack in 25 years.

"We have moved from ‘should we respond?’ to ‘how do we respond?’” the Times quoted a spokeswoman for Cameron as saying.

In London, Foreign Secretary William Hague said evidence of a chemical attack could have already been destroyed by subsequent artillery shelling in the areas or degraded in the days following the strike.

"We have to be realistic now about what the UN team can achieve," he told reporters.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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