MOSCOW, August 30 (RIA Novosti) – The UK government has lost a vital parliamentary vote endorsing military operation in Syria in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime, British media reported.
The motion calling for a "strong humanitarian response" on Syria was defeated by 285 to 272 votes late on Thursday, The Guardian reported. The opposition gained a majority when around 30 Conservative MPs crossed the floor to vote against the government, The Independent reported.
Speaking in parliament after the historic vote, ruling out London's involvement in any US-led strikes, Prime Minster David Cameron said: "It is clear to me that the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action. I get that and the government will act accordingly," the paper reported.
In response to the vote by the British parliament, the White House said Washington “will continue to consult” with Britain, one of its “closest allies and friends,” the BBC reported.
The British vote follows a deadlocked meeting of the UN Security Council Wednesday, in which Britain had tried to get support for a resolution condemning Syria and authorizing military support against it for using chemical weapons. China and Russia opposed the resolution.
The UK Prime Minister’s Office said previously that if action in the UN Security Council is blocked, international law would still permit the country “to take exceptional measures in order to alleviate the scale of the overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe in Syria.”
Western powers are considering armed intervention in the two-year civil war after hundreds of people were killed last week in the Syrian capital Damascus in an apparent nerve gas attack that the Syrian opposition claimed was carried out by government forces and the government blamed on rebels. Western media speculated that such intervention might begin in the coming days.
Cameron called the purported gas attack "one of the most abhorrent uses of chemical weapons in a century," The Guardian said.
Naval forces from the France, Russia, the United Kingdom and United States are known to be in the eastern Mediterranean. Typhoon fighter aircraft from Britain's Royal Air Force had already deployed Thursday morning to the British Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus, the UK Defense Ministry said.