UK backs US missile strike on Syrian air base

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Britain has backed the US missile strike on a Syrian air base as an “appropriate response” to Bashar Assad regime’s “barbaric” chemical attack.

The Government has offered its full support to US president Donald Trump’s targeted assault on the base from where he said a devastating nerve agent strike on civilians was launched.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter fires a Tomahawk land attack missile. Picture: Ford Williams/U.S. Navy via Getty Images

The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter fires a Tomahawk land attack missile. Picture: Ford Williams/U.S. Navy via Getty Images

A No 10 spokeswoman said: “The UK Government fully supports the US action, which we believe was an appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack launched by the Syrian regime, and is intended to deter further attacks.”

The surprise barrage of 59 cruise missiles in the early hours of Friday, UK time, was the first direct US attack on the Syrian government.

READ MORE: Trump: ‘No future’ for Assad after Syrian chemical attacks

Speaking from Florida, Mr Trump said he was reacting to Syrian president Assad’s use of a nerve agent, in an emotional message to the public in which he evoked images of children dying.

President Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, after the U.S. fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, after the U.S. fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The US president said: “Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many.

“Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack.

“Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched.

“It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.

The United States blasted a Syrian air base with a barrage of cruise missiles. Picture:  Ford Williams/U.S. Navy

The United States blasted a Syrian air base with a barrage of cruise missiles. Picture: Ford Williams/U.S. Navy

“There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons.”

The Tomahawk missiles, launched from two warships in the Mediterranean Sea, targeted airstrips, hangars, control towers and ammunition areas in Sharyat, central Syria, according to officials.

At least 72 people, including 20 children, were killed by a suspected mixture of chlorine and a nerve agent in an attack in the largely opposition-held Idlib province on Tuesday.