LONDON,The British government on Wednesday voted to authorize military airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria — joining an international coalition of nations dedicated to eradicating the terrorist group.
Members of Parliament voted 397-223 Wednesday to approve such action, which will allow Prime Minister David Cameron to order the strikes against terror targets in Syria.
Wednesday’s action means the nation’s Royal Air Force could begin bombing runs over Syria in the near future. In fact, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the strikes could begin as early as Thursday.
Cameron has argued that military action against Islamic State militants, whom he called “medieval monsters,” are necessary for Britain’s national security.
“The House should be under no illusion that these terrorists are plotting to kill us and to radicalize our children right now,” he said during debate in the House of Commons Wednesday.
The Scottish National Party has also voiced opposition to the airstrikes.
Some in the Labour Party, though, disagree that military airstrikes are the answer to fighting the Islamic State — called ISIS in Syria and ISIL in Libya.
“It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the prime minister understands public opposition to his ill-thought-out rush to war is growing and wants to hold the vote before it slips from his hands,” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said.
Cameron made headlines recently when he called Corbyn and other opposition members “terrorist sympathizers.”
The vote was delivered after about 10 hours of debate. More than 50 senior members of the Labour Party voted in favor of the strikes, BBC News reportedWednesday.
Britain’s move follows impassioned pleas by French President François Hollande fora global coalition against the terror group, which left 130 people dead and wounded nearly 400 on Nov. 13 during coordinated attacks in and around Paris.
Russia has also stepped up airstrikes against militant targets in Syria — an issue that has caused some friction between Moscow and the United States.
Last month, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution for the international community to take necessary action to defeat the Islamic State and al Qaeda affiliate al Nusra.
“This is not about whether we want to fight terrorism, it’s about how best we do that,” Cameron said. “The question is this: Do we work with our allies to degrade and destroy this threat and do we go after these terrorists in their heartlands, from where they are plotting to kill British people?
“Or do we sit back and wait for them to attack us?”
By Doug G. Ware