British Prime Minister David Cameron lost a vote endorsing military action against Syria by 13 votes Thursday, a stunning defeat that will almost guarantee that Britain plays no direct role in any U.S. attack on Bashar Assad?s government.
A grim-faced Cameron conceded after the vote that ?the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action.?
The prime minister said that while he still believed in a ?tough response? to the alleged use of chemical weapons by Assad?s regime, he would respect the will of Parliament.
Responding to the vote, the White House said that a decision on a possible military strike against Syria will be guided by America?s best interests, suggesting the U.S. may act alone if other nations won?t help.
The defeat was as dramatic as it was unexpected. At the start of the week, Cameron had seemed poised to join Washington in possible military action against Assad. The suspected chemical weapons attacks took place Aug. 21 in suburbs east and west of Damascus. The humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders has said the strikes killed 355 people.
Gruesome images of sickened men, women and children writhing on the floor drew outrage from across the world, and Cameron recalled Parliament from its summer break for an emergency vote, which was widely seen as a prelude to international action.
?The video footage illustrates some of the most sickening human suffering imaginable,? Cameron told lawmakers before the vote, arguing that the most dangerous thing to do was to ?stand back and do nothing.? (AP) ONDON