British PM Theresa May orders submarines to move within missile range of Syria

The British Royal Navy submarine HMS Astute leaving Barrow-in-Furness for sea trials on Nov 15, 2009. British Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered British Royal Navy submarines to move within missile range of Syria.
The British Royal Navy submarine HMS Astute leaving Barrow-in-Furness for sea trials on Nov 15, 2009. British Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered British Royal Navy submarines to move within missile range of Syria.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON (REUTERS) - British Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered British submarines to move within missile range of Syria in readiness for strikes against the Syrian military that could begin as early as Thursday (April 12) night, the Daily Telegraph newspaper said.

Mrs May has not reached a final decision on whether Britain would join any strikes by the United States and France in response to a suspected chemical attack, but wants to be able to act swiftly, the newspaper said.

It quoted government sources as saying Britain was "doing everything necessary" to be able to fire Tomahawk cruise missiles from submarines against military targets in Syria.

Mrs May has summoned Cabinet to discuss the government's response to the chemical weapons attack, but the BBC, citing unnamed sources, said that Britain may join the military action in Syria before parliamentary consent is received. 

The BBC said that Mrs May is reluctant to ask the US to hold off on any action until she has consulted MPs. 

The MPs are due to return to Parliament from their Easter recess on Monday. 

Mrs May has not yet attributed the chemical weapons attack in Syria to regime forces, but has spoken of the need for action if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is found to bear responsibility.