Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accepted an invitation to visit Russia, according to Russian news agencies, after telling a group of Russian politicians that Western missile strikes on his country were an act of aggression.
- It is unclear when the Syrian President’s visit to Russia will take place
- British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson says there is currently “no proposal” of further attacks
- British Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn has questioned the legal basis for the strikes
The politicians met with Mr Assad after the United States, France and Britain launched missile strikes on Syria in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack a week ago.
Russian news agencies quoted the politicians as saying Mr Assad was in a “good mood” and had praised the Soviet-era air defence systems used by Syria to help to repel the Western attacks.
The supply of Russian air defence systems was not discussed, agencies reported, but Mr Assad accepted an invitation to visit the Siberian region of Khanty-Mansi in Russia.
It was not clear when the visit would take place.
UK to study ‘options’ if Assad uses chemical weapons again
Meanwhile, British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said Britain would study the “options” with its allies if Mr Assad again used chemical weapons against his people in Syria, but said as yet there was nothing planned.
Mr Johnson backed Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to join the US and France in the strikes on chemical weapons facilities in Syria, saying it was the right thing to do to deter the further use of such weapons.
“There is no proposal on the table at the moment for further attacks, because so far, thank heavens, the Assad regime have not been so foolish as to launch another chemical weapons attack,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show.
The leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, said the legal basis used to support British air strikes in Syria was debatable, adding that he would only support action backed by the United Nations Security Council.
“I say to the foreign secretary, I say to the prime minister, where is the legal basis for this?” Mr Corbyn said in an interview with the BBC.
“The legal basis … would have to be self defence or the authority of the UN Security Council.
“The humanitarian intervention is a legally debatable concept at the present time.”