Reports in Syrian state media that a fresh missile strike had been launched against two air bases in the country were incorrect, government-run outlets have now said.
Air defences were triggered early on Tuesday due to a false alarm, state television said later in the day. It had been reported that a new missile attack targeted Syria’s Sharyat air base, near Homs, and the Dumayr air field north-east of Damascus, with the Pentagon denying US involvement and Israel declining to comment.
It came as MPs prepared for a second emergency debate on the use of Britain’s armed forces in Saturday’s air strikes. Jeremy Corbyn and others have criticised Theresa May for not giving parliament a vote on military action, but the prime minister defended the bombings as “a limited, targeted strike on a legal basis that has been used before” designed to disrupt Syria’s chemical weapons capability.
Inspectors will be able to access the site of an alleged chemical attack in Syria on Wednesday, Russia has said. Roads into Douma were still being cleared, an official added, following accusations by the UK that Russia and Syria were blocking the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) from the area.
During Monday evening’s debate Ms May insisted: “We have not done this because President Trump asked us to do so.
“We have done it because we believed it was the right thing to do. And we are not alone: there is broad based international support for the action we have taken.”
However, Mr Corbyn suggested the UK had blindly followed Mr Trump into “legally questionable” strikes and re-iterated calls for a new War Powers Act to enshrine parliament’s right to be given a vote before the UK engages in military action.
Representatives of the UK, US and Russia spent much of Monday in diplomatic combat over chemical inspectors’ access to Douma. The US’ envoy to the OPCW, Kenneth Ward, said he believed Russian personnel had visited the site and voiced fears it may have been tampered with, prompting Moscow’s foreign minister to “guarantee” this was not the case.
Syria bombings: US, UK and French military air strikes wreckage
Both the US and UK accused Russia of blocking inspectors from accessing Douma, with the Kremlin saying any delays were due to Saturday’s air strikes and a lack of UN permits on the part of the OPCW – an assertion denied in turn by the UN.
The OPCW’s director general said on Monday afternoon that while access had not yet been granted, Syrian authorities had offered to transport 22 witnesses to Damascus for interview.