House of Commons on Wednesday voted to support a government motion on
extending UK airstrikes against the Islamic State (IS) to Syria after 10
hours of intense debate.
The motion, requesting British "military action, specifically
airstrikes, exclusively against ISIL (IS) in Syria," was approved by 397
votes to 223.
The approval will pave the way for British warplanes to extend their
bombing missions from Iraq to Syria.
Britain has been bombing IS, also known as ISIL, ISIS or Daesh, in
Iraq since the House of Commons voted to authorize airstrikes in the
Middle East country in September 2014.
Speaking after the vote, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond
said: "Britain is safer because of the actions taken by MPs today."
He added that he was "very pleased that a significant number of Labour
MPs voted with us to degrade this terrorist organization"
British members of the Parliament (MPs) clashed bitterly in a whole
day of heated debate in the House of Commons over whether to extend
British airstrikes against the Islamic State (IS) targets to Syria.
Opening the debate on Wedneday, British Prime Minister David Cameron
said Britain "should not wait any longer" before reducing the treat from
IS to its security.
"We should answer the call from our allies. The action we propose to
take is legal. It is necessary, and it is the right thing to do to keep
our country safe," he said in his opening speech.
Describing IS militants as "women-raping, Muslim-murdering, mediaeval
monsters," Cameron said he wants to "pursue a comprehensive strategy
that also includes political, diplomatic and humanitarian action."
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, opposed
extending UK bombing into Syria, warning that "the prime minister’s
proposal for military action simply doesn’t stack up."
"For all members, taking a decision that will put British service men
and women in harm’s way and almost inevitably lead to the deaths of
innocents is a heavy responsibility," he said.
"The Prime Minister has offered no serious assessment of the impact of
an intensified air campaign on civilian casualties in ISIL-held Syrian
territory or the wider Syrian refugee crisis," he noted.
The Labour leader argued that the government’s bombing proposal
"clearly does not subordinate military action to international
"Finally, and perhaps most important of all, the Prime Minister is
still entirely unable to explain how UK bombing in Syria would
contribute to a comprehensive negotiated political settlement of the
Syrian war," he said.
The debate and vote came amid continued protests against British
military intervention in Syria. More than 1,000 protesters, led by the
Stop the War coalition, demonstrated outside the Parliament Wednesday,
chanting and holding placards reading: "Hands off Syria", "Don’t bomb
Syria" and "Say no to more imperialist war", among others.