British PM Cameron warned against Syria airstrikes

An influential parliamentary committee in Britain has warned David Cameron against pressing ahead with a vote on UK airstrikes against the IS in Syria.

London: An influential parliamentary committee in Britain has warned Prime Minister David Cameron against pressing ahead with a vote on UK airstrikes against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in Syria.

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons said Cameron should instead focus on efforts to end Syria's civil war, raising concerns about the legal basis for any UK action.

While Downing Street has strongly denied reports Cameron has abandoned plans for a vote altogether, some media reports here claimed he has decided against a Parliament vote because of a lack of support from MPs -- also said to be prompted by Russia's military intervention.

"While intervention would be welcomed by the UK's military allies, it would be likely to have only a marginal effect on the conflict... The UK risks further reputational damage unless it can make a clear legal case for action, with a UN mandate the clearest basis," the committee, which has a Conservative Party majority, said in its report.

It noted: "We believe that there should be no extension of British military action into Syria unless there is a coherent international strategy that has a realistic chance of defeating ISIL and of ending the civil war in Syria.

"In the absence of such a strategy, taking action to meet the desire to do something is still incoherent."

The committee outlined a series of points that should be explained before the government asks MPs to back its case.

These include how the action would improve the chances of success against ISIS, how it would contribute to a transition plan for Syria, and whether the UK has the backing of "key regional players" Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

The MPs also want to know which ground forces would take control of land captured from IS.

Committee chairman Crispin Blunt said: "By becoming a full combatant in the US-led campaign at this stage, the UK risks needlessly compromising its independent diplomatic ability to support an international political solution to the crisis."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is opposed to military intervention, although not all of his MPs share this stance.

"Britain remains committed to using every tool available to save lives and create the conditions for peace in Iraq and Syria," UK foreign secretary Philip Hammond said.

Cameron was defeated in a 2013 vote on possible UK military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government by 285-272. Following that vote, he said he would respect the decision, and ruled out joining US-led strikes.

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