Syria: air traffic controllers issue 'rapid alert' as MP calls for 'military escalation'

Syrian rescue teams clear the rubble yesterday morning (April 10) at the site of an explosion

Syrian rescue teams clear the rubble yesterday morning (April 10) at the site of an explosion

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

European air traffic controllers have issued a "rapid alert" for airlines in the eastern Mediterranean over the possibility of air strikes into Syria within the next 72 hours.

The European Aviation Security Agency's (EASA) warning of possible launches of air-to-ground strikes or cruise missiles comes as the US, Britain, France and allies weigh up retaliatory measures to a suspected chemical weapon attack in Syria.

The European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, Eurocontrol, told operators:

"Please note that EASA has issued Rapid Alert Notification for Eastern Mediterranean/Nicosia FIR (flight information region) area stating that: Due to the possible launch of air strikes into Syria with air-to-ground and/or cruise missiles within the next 72 hours, and the possibility of intermittent disruption of radio navigation equipment, due consideration needs to be taken when planning flight operations in the Eastern Mediterranean/Nicosia FIR area."

Talking to Julia Hartley-Brewer, Conservative MP Johnny Mercer said we can't let "things like this (chemical attack) happen without any sort of response at all - I think that's a very dangerous position to be in".

Suggesting a need to "steer away from getting binary outcomes in this conflict", the former army captain said:

"I don't think we're going to do anything singularly that is going to stop the use of chemical weapons or end that war. 

"But we have to send some sort of signal about what this is about and I do think there should be some sort of military escalation to have a more profound effect on the regime and the chemical weapons stockpiles and (Assad's) behaviour.

"There are a number of different options."

He added that we had learned from the "profound mistakes" made in previous conflicts. 

"Britain has a modern, forward-looking role to play," he said. "Our allies, friends and partners expect us to play that role, and I think it'd be a significant mistake if we didn't."