19:58 GMT +313 December 2019
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    Cameron Suffers Blow as UK Committee Refuses to Support Syria Strikes

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    UK Prime Minister David Cameron has suffered a blow in his push for British forces to take part in bombing Daesh targets, aslo known as ISIL, in Syria, after the UK parliament's influential Foreign Affairs Select Committee concluded that Cameron had "not adequately addressed concerns" about military action.

    Responding to Cameron's address to parliament last week, where his put forward the case for Britain to join the US-led international coalition in carrying out airstrikes on Daesh targets, the committee said the prime minister had failed to justify airstrikes in Syria.

    The decision comes as MPs on Wednesday debate and vote on whether to carry out strikes in Syria, with concerns the Foreign Affairs Select Committee's findings may hinder Cameron's hopes of building a political consensus behind military action. 

    The committee voted four to three against supporting the proposed military intervention, with major concerns raised over the prime minister's claim that there was a 70,000-strong armed force of anti-Syrian government, anti-extremist fighters capable of benefiting from British airstrikes.

    However, these claims have been widely derided by experts, who have argued that many of the so-called 70,000 fighters are in fact Islamic extremists, sparking fears that British intervention may actually assist other jihadist groups.

    Shadow minister for civil service reform Louise Haigh caused a stir after she said that the government's national security adviser Mark Lyall Grant had told MPs that 40,000 of the forces were radical Islamists. Haigh tweeted:

    Government officials, who said Ms Haigh misquoted the national security adviser, rejected the claims.

    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tried to put aside the internal divisions within his own party and increased the pressure on Mr Cameron, telling Sky News that there were many questions over the prime ministers' plans.

    "The important issue tomorrow isn't the process within the Labour party, it's David Cameron trying to take this country into a bombing mission in Syria, claiming there is an army of 75,000 people […] whose existence is questionable, shall we say, and whose membership is certainly more interested either in fighting Assad or in doing deals with other jihadist forces. It seems to me that we are stepping into something that is potentially very dangerous and rather unknown."


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    airstrikes, parliamentary vote, committee, anti-ISIL coalition, domestic politics, bombing campaign, Islamic extremism, Syrian conflict, vote, war, Daesh, House of Commons, David Cameron, United Kingdom
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