Many MPs expressed fears of “mission creep”. But the six-and-a-half-hour emergency debate unexpectedly turned into a heated argument over whether to take military action in Syria as well as Iraq. Several MPs argued that it would be logical to extend air strikes to Syria, pointing out that Isis does not recognise the border between the two countries.
David Cameron gave his clearest sign yet that he would like to join the United States in hitting Isis in Syria. “I am very clear that Isis needs to be destroyed in Syria as well as in Iraq,” he told the Commons. “I believe that there is a strong case for us to do more in Syria.”
The Prime Minister admitted that Syria was a “more complicated” issue than Iraq, where the new government has formally requested UK military support. But he brushed aside legal doubts about action in Syria. “I do not believe that there is a legal barrier, because I think that the legal advice is clear that were we or others to act, there is a legal basis,” he said.
One method could be for Iraq to request UK help to combat Isis attacks launched from Syria, which could then allow intervention under the United Nations charter.
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