Scotland

First minister warns on Syria strikes

Nicola Sturgeon
Image caption The first minister said careful strategy is required in Syria

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said military action in Syria risks making the situation "worse not better".

Speaking to the BBC after joint action by the US, France and the UK, she said "cool heads" were needed in determining strategy.

The bomb and missile strikes were in response to a suspected chemical attack on the Syrian town of Douma.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the action was about saying "enough is enough".

Ms Sturgeon said: "Cool heads and careful strategy, I think, are required at the moment.

"I worry that what we saw over the weekend does not fulfil these criteria.

"It may make the West feel as if something is being done but if that something is not actually contributing to longer-term peace in Syria then the danger is it makes the situation worse not better."

Image caption The foreign secretary believes the air strikes showed how concerned the world is about the use of chemical weapons

Speaking earlier on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Mr Johnson stressed the "limits" of the intervention were to stop an apparent erosion of the "taboo" of chemical weapons.

"The rest of the Syrian war must proceed as it will," he said, adding that the "primary purpose is to say no to the use of barbaric chemical weapons".

Mr Johnson said he did not know how Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would respond, adding that if there was a repeat chemical attack, "clearly, with allies, we would study what the options were".

On Saturday, the Ministry of Defence said eight Storm Shadow missiles had been launched by four RAF Tornados at a former missile base, 15 miles west of Homs.

It is thought President Bashar al-Assad's regime had been stockpiling materials used to make chemical weapons there, it said.

A spokesperson added the facility was located "some distance" from "concentrations of civilian habitation", and the risk of contamination to the surrounding area had been minimised.

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