April 10, 2018 / 2:16 PM / 8 months ago

British minister says Syria military intervention 'a live issue'

Britain's Secretary of State for International Development Penny Mordaunt attends a class during her visit to a public school in Amman, Jordan, April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

AMMAN (Reuters) - The British government is discussing military intervention with its allies in Syria in response to an alleged chemical attack in the eastern Ghouta near Damascus, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said on Tuesday.

Asked whether she supported military intervention after the attack on Douma on Saturday, Mordaunt told Reuters: “It’s a live issue at the moment and it is something that the UK government is looking at and discussing, and we are obviously discussing this with our international partners.”

Mordaunt spoke during a tour of British-funded aid projects in Jordan.

“That kind of atrocity is not acceptable and, whatever we might do to hold people to account for that in future, my prime concern is that we do not have a repeat of those appalling atrocities, and that we are doing everything we can to protect men women and children who are targeted,” she said.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said she would talk to U.S. President Donald Trump later on Tuesday about the suspected chemical attack.

The Syrian government has denied it was behind the attack, which medical relief organisations say killed dozens of people.

Britain and the United States agreed on Monday that the attack bore the hallmarks of previous chemical attacks carried out by President Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian government, a statement from the British Foreign Office said.

Reporting by Suleiman al-Khalidi; Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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