MOSCOW, September 11 (RIA Novosti) – British Prime Minister David Cameron still may approve airstrikes against the Islamic State militants in Syria, the Prime Minister’s spokesperson said on Thursday.
“In terms of air power, the prime minister has not ruled anything out and that is the position,” Reuters quoted Cameron’s spokesperson as saying.
The statement came hours after German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his British counterpart Philip Hammond following a meeting in Britain stressed their countries will not take part in airstrikes against the IS.
“Let me be clear: Britain will not be taking part in any air strikes in Syria. We have already had that discussion in our parliament last year and we won't be revisiting that position,” Hammond said as quoted by Reuters.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary explained that the legal environment and “military permissiveness” in Syria are different from those in Iraq, where the US has already been carrying airstrikes against IS militants.
The German foreign minister stressed that Berlin was never asked to carry out airstrikes against the extremists and would not resort to such measures.
On Wednesday, US President Barack Obama in his address to the nation unveiled his strategy for defeating the IS that includes authorizing US airstrikes against the group in Syria. Obama announced that the United States would lead a coalition aiming to roll back the terrorist threat and destroy the jihadist group altogether.
Earlier on Thursday, a Syrian minister of national reconciliation warned that any foreign military action on its territory will be considered an aggression unless approved by Damascus. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich stressed earlier in the day sanctioning airstrikes without a UN Security Council mandate would be a violation of international law.
The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), is a radical Sunni group, which has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June, it started launching attacks in the northern and western regions of Iraq, announcing the establishment of a caliphate on all the territories under its control.
In August, President Obama authorized limited airstrikes against the Islamic State positions in Iraq.