Michael Fallon On Syria: 'Russia Needs To Think Again'

7 April 2017, 10:02 | Updated: 7 April 2017, 10:40

Fifty nine US cruise missiles were fired at a military target in Syria overnight - this is what UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon had to say about it.

Trump launched a missile strike as a "warning shot" following Mr al-Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons on civilians in rebel-held town Idlib earlier this week. 

Fifty nine tomahawk cruise missiles were launched at al-Shayrat military airfield near Homs in Syria.

UK Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon spoke to Nick Ferrari following the air strikes to give his take on it. 

Sir Michael said that the UK supported the air strike. He went on: "Well I hope now that that Syrian regime will think very, very hard before they gas again. Because they know, that they could face similar attacks on other air fields in future." 

Nick asked: "So we won't be waking up necessarily tomorrow morning to another missile strike from the US?"

Sir Michael said: "Well, the aim of this attack, and it was a very limited, narrowly focused attack, was to deter the regime from the use of gas. 

"I think the regime is more likely to think very hard before it uses gas in future."

He continued: "We hope the action they have taken will finally deter Assad from doing this kind of thing to his own people." 

The Defence Secretary added that the UK cannot rule out another US air strike, and that was a matter for the US government to decide. 

Following the missile strike, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said in a statement that Moscow is suspending a memorandum with the US which prevented incidents and ensured flight safety. 

Sir Michael commented: "Well of course it's right that we should understand and manage the likely Russian reactions to an action like this, but Russia has had every opportunity over the last three or four years to use its influence to bring this civil war to an end and has chosen not to do so.

"On the contrary, Russia has prolonged this war...Russia could have been playing a much more responsible role, and they ought to think again." 

Nick then asked Sir Michael: "What is the solution then for Syria?"

The Defence Secretary replied: "Well the solution in Syria, we believe, is what we have now in Iraq. Iraq is a democracy, however fragile it may be...we want to see the same in Syria. 

"A government that genuinely brings together all those who prepared to be moderate, to live under a democratic arrangement. There is no reason why Syria shouldn't one day have elections as we've had elections in Iraq."

Nick: "So are you holding up Iraq as a blue print then for the future?"

Sir Michael said: "No but I'm saying we shouldn't give up on these countries, however hard it is. We have fragile democracies now in a number of countries round the world.

"They've chosen the path of democracy and the people of Syria, I think, we owe it to them to do everything possible to try and bring this war to an end and to construct a better future for that country."