UK submarines have moved within missile-range of Syria as Theresa May moves ever-closer to military intervention, following the sick chemical attack in Douma last week.
Theresa May had declared that “all the indications” suggested Assad’s forces were responsible for the alleged chemical strike that left dozens dead in the town of Douma on Saturday.
And cruise missiles have now been positioned within striking range of the country as speculation over a US-led response continued to mount, according to reports.
US President Donald Trump dramatically escalated growing tensions surrounding the crisis on Wednesday by warning Russia, which is backing the Syrian regime, that “nice and new and smart” cruise missiles “will be coming”.
Mrs May has not reached a final decision on whether Britain would join any strikes by the US and France in response to the suspected attack.
But the Telegraph reported overnight that she had ordered British submarines to move within missile range of Syria in readiness for strikes against the Syrian military.
The Prime Minister was under pressure to give Parliament the chance to vote before committing UK forces to any new action amid fears it could draw the West into direct conflict with Assad’s main backer, Russia.
Speaking during a visit to Birmingham on Wednesday, Mrs May again said the use of chemical weapons by the regime “cannot go unchallenged” as she reaffirmed her intention to continue working with the UK’s “closest allies”.
“We have been working to get an understanding of what happened on the ground. We are rapidly reaching that understanding,” she said.
“All the indications are that the Syrian regime was responsible and we will be working with our closest allies on how we can ensure that those who are responsible are held to account.
“The continued use of chemical weapons cannot go unchallenged.”
Russia has warned against military action and said it will shoot down rockets fired at its ally.
In a tweet responding to the threat, President Trump said: “Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria.
“Get ready, Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart’. You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”
Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkinhad, warned that the federation’s military will shoot down US rockets and “even the sources that launched the missiles”.