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U.K. Could Launch Airstrikes In Syria Without Assad

Prime Minister David Cameron made the claim after he and President Barack Obama wrote a joint op-ed saying they "will not be cowed" in the fight against ISIS.

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British Prime Minister David Cameron said the U.K. could launch airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Syria without the support of the government of Bashar al-Assad, The Guardian reported.

Rebecca Naden / Reuters

In a round of media interviews on Thursday morning, Cameron opened a legal path for military action against ISIS in the country by claiming Assad's government was illegitimate.

He said Western nations would not necessarily require an invitation from the regime to launch airstrikes within the country's borders in order to satisfy international law.

In an interview with the BBC, Cameron said he would not "rule anything out" when it came to taking military action against ISIS:

He said he was "personally supervising" efforts to secure the release of David Haines, the British hostage whose life was threatened in the ISIS video showing the murder of American journalist Steven Sotloff.

Cameron said the U.K. would not pay a ransom to free the 44-year-old hostage, who was captured over a year ago in northern Syria. Relatives of Haines had previously asked British media not to publish his name, but after it appeared in foreign outlets such as the New York Times they concluded that its publication in British media was inevitable.

Yesterday, British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond said the U.K. would explore "every possible option" to help the hostage, and said that an unsuccessful attempt had already been made to rescue him.

Meanwhile, Cameron and U.S. President Barack Obama have claimed their two nations "will not be cowed" by the threat of ISIS in a joint op-ed in The Times of London (paywalled).

AFP / Getty Images SAUL LOEB

The piece was also published on Cameron's Facebook page ahead of the NATO summit. The two leaders said that in the light of the "utterly despicable murders" of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, greater NATO cooperation on global security is "more vital to our future than it has ever been."

They added that "those who want to adopt an isolationist approach misunderstand the nature of security in the 21st century."

Francis Whittaker is a homepage editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Francis Whittaker at

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