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Johnson: Syria strikes send message chemical weapons not tolerated

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Foreign secretary Boris Johnson today said air strikes carried out by British forces alongside US and French allies will send a message that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated.

The allies have pointed to significant evidence that the Syrian regime under Bashar al-Assad was responsible for a suspected chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma a week ago. The attack may have killed as many as 75 people, according to the government.

"The overwhelming purpose of the mission was to send a message," Johnson said, speaking to the BBC.

Read more: Jeremy Corbyn urges Theresa May to take in more refugees after Syria strike

However, Johnson repeatedly said the government was not using the strikes in a bid to topple the Assad regime.

"This is not going to turn the tide of the conflict in Syria," he said. The "primary purpose" of the missile strikes was to "say 'no' to the use of barbaric chemical weapons".

Johnson added there are currently no plans to launch further reprisal attacks, although if more chemical weapons are used in the civil war the government would consider its options.

Johnson also sought to dismiss criticisms of the government for going ahead with the missile strikes on suspected chemical weapons facilities without putting it to government vote.

He said there is "abundant precedent" for the Prime Minister using executive powers to order the attacks.

Read more: US, UK and France launch air strikes on Syrian government targets

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