Air Strikes Row Grows as Cameron Says Isil Must be Destroyed

BRITAIN\'S safety and security depends on destroying the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, David Cameron has said as he signalled that he still wants to extend air strikes into Syria.

Published: 16th November 2015 08:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th November 2015 08:22 AM   |  A+A-

BRITAIN'S safety and security depends on destroying the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), David Cameron has said as he signalled that he still wants to extend air strikes into Syria.

At the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, the Prime Minister said that it has "become even more clear" in the wake of the Paris attacks that Britain and Europe will be safer "if we destroy this death cult once and for all".

However Labour yesterday (Sunday) refused to support extending air strikes into Syria, saying that "just dropping bombs will not defeat Isil".

Both the US and France vowed to intensify air strikes in Syria in response to the atrocities. The US conducted 27 air strikes in Iraq and Syria on Saturday, while French President Francois Hollande said his nation's forces "will be merciless toward the barbarians of the Islamic State group".

Mr Cameron said: "It has become even more clear that our safety and security depends on degrading and ultimately destroying Isil whether it's in Iraq or Syria.

"We're playing a huge role in that

already in Iraq. Others are taking action in Syria which we both support and enable, but we've got to keep on making the case that we will be safer in the UK, in France, right across Europe if we destroy this death cult once and for all."

Mr Cameron last month shelved plans for a Commons vote on extending air strikes amid concerns that he would be unable to win the support of Labour MPs.

Hilary Benn, Labour's shadow foreign secretary, insisted that the focus should be on finding a political solution to the  crisis in Syria before extending any military action.

He told the Murnaghan programme on Sky News: "There has to be a comprehensive plan if you are really going to end the threat from Isil/Daesh and that needs to come forward. If the Government wants to bring that forward, then we would look at it. But I'm afraid you are not going to defeat Isil/Daesh in Syria just by dropping bombs."

Diane Abbott, a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn and the shadow international development secretary, said Labour would only support military intervention in Syria if there is a UN mandate.

Mr Cameron's case could be strengthened if France invokes Nato's Article 5 clause of self-defence, which says an attack on one member is an attack on all.

Admiral James Stavridis, a former Supreme Allied Commander for Nato, said: "I believe Nato should declare this an Article 5 and enter the fight."

Military action would start with special forces raids and more air strikes, and include more training for Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

He said faced with attacks on three fronts, it would soon become clear that Isil "are not 10ft tall. Nato can do this".

Crispin Blunt, Tory chairman of the Commons foreign affairs committee, said it was more important for countries to focus on coming up with a "coherent international plan" to defeat the jihadists.

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