LONDON (Reuters) - It is wrong for Britain to rely on allies to protect it from Islamic State militants, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said, calling on lawmakers to consider the case for extending air strikes to Syria from Iraq.
The British government this week denied that it had dropped plans to seek parliamentary approval for British air strikes in Syria after several newspapers reported it had done so because it had failed to get enough backing from opposition lawmakers.
“I am asking MPs particularly to reflect on the fact that the streets of Britain at the moment are being kept safe by American, Australian and French aircraft striking at the heart of ISIL in north-east Syria from where ISIL is organized and directed,” Fallon told the BBC.
“ISIL is a very direct threat to us in Britain ... and it’s not right morally to rely on French or Australian or American aircraft to keep our streets safe.”
British tourists will begin flying home from the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh on Friday with extra security measures in place after Prime Minister David Cameron said a bomb probably downed a Russian airplane, killing all 224 people on board.
Fallon said the government would hold a series of intelligence briefings for lawmakers over the next few weeks to try to build a political consensus for extending Britain’s involvement in the conflict, the BBC reported.
“If we’re serious about tackling ISIL, in the end we have to be prepared to strike at ISIL headquarters, which is in Syria, not Iraq,” he said.
Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Guy Faulconbridge