UK drone strike killings in Syria criticised

By staff writers
September 7, 2015

Prime Minister David Cameron told the Commons today (7 September) that RAF drones had undertaken strikes in Syria at the end of August, targeting and killing a British citizen, and that another British citizen, who was not targeted, was also killed.

Cardiff-born Reyaad Khan and Ruhul Amin from Aberdeen, died last month in Raqqa, alongside another fighter, in the first targeted UK drone attack on a British citizen, Cameron told MPs. He said that Khan, who was the target ,had been plotting "barbaric" attacks on UK soil.

The Prime Minister claimed the "act of self defence" was lawful, despite MPs previously ruling out UK military action in Syria.

Labour's acting leader Harriet Harman urged the government to publish the legal advice given by the Attorney General but Downing Street said it was a "long-standing convention that we do not publish advice of the law officers".

The former Attorney General Dominic Grieve said it was possible the decision taken by the government could be "legally reviewed or challenged".

The General Secretaryof the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Kate Hudson said: “That a British citizen was targeted and killed by these strikes – and another killed by mistake – is particularly alarming and sets a dangerous new precedent. This is extrajudicial killing: a British Prime Minister now claims the right to kill British citizens when they travel abroad.”

“We must also remember that Parliament voted against strikes in Syria in August 2013. This latest round of strikes is a further violation of the will of parliament."

Kat Craig, from the human rights group Reprieve, called the air strike "deeply worrying".

"Make no mistake - what we are seeing is the failed US model of secret strikes being copied wholesale by the British government," she said.

The BBC's security correspondent, Frank Gardner, said the targeting of Khan by his own country had "set a precedent".

[Ekk/4]

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