UK airstrikes against Islamic State extremists in Syria could be illegal without the agreement of President Bashar Assad’s government or a UN Security Council resolution, according to a House of Commons Library assessment.
Prime Minister David Cameron will recall MPs to parliament to outline his plans for deeper military intervention in Iraq and Syria when he returns from the UN General Assembly in New York next week.
The House of Commons Library paper, however, says air strikes in Syria “will be difficult to justify legally”unless the Syrian president requests assistance from Western powers, as Iraqi President Fuad Masum has.
“Any action against ISIL (ISIS) in Iraq will be inadequate without action against them in Syria and the rhetoric against the Assads may be toned down,” the paper notes.
Action in Syria will be difficult to justify legally without a request for assistance from the Assad government, and it is unlikely that the West could be seen to be responding to such a request.
“The British government has said that any action in Syria will comply with international law, and the most likely way to achieve this would be to claim that military action is for humanitarian purposes, using the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. This remains controversial, however, without a United Nations Security Council resolution to authorize it.”