Thanet North MP Sir Roger Gale's doubt over British military action against Syria
A senior Kent Conservative MP has expressed reservations over military action against Syria, warning intervention could be too little, too late and ineffective.
Thanet North MP Sir Roger Gale said he was gravely concerned about the consequences of "punitive" action against the Assad regime.
And in a pointed intervention,the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has also questioned if intervention was warranted.
He said he feared the consequences could be "beyond description and horrible" and MPs must be certain of the "facts on the ground" before proceeding.
His comments were made ahead of tomorrow's debate by MPs on action over Syria.
Sir Roger, who backed the war on Iraq, said he did not doubt that chemical weapons were used in the civil war - in a clear breach of convention that should not go unpunished.
"What is certain, though," he said, "is that any such response must be based first upon legality, must be proportionate and must be effective. There is no clear indication, to date, that those terms are satisfied."
While it was probable Assad's government was responsible for the gas attack, he said "there is a considerable possibility that one or more of the opposition groups operating in Syria, including Al Qaeda might have initiated the attacks precisely to seek to draw Western powers into the active conflict."
He also raised questions over the aims of any action on Syria.
"Any military adventure requires a clear objective, clear terms of engagement and a pre-determined exit strategy. I cannot see that any of those requirements are at present in place."
He also cast doubt on whether so-called surgical strikes with cruise missile could be made without civilian casualties and the possibility of hitting areas where chemical weapons were stored.
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