UK parliament approves air strikes in Syria against ISIS

Parliament voted on Wednesday to launch bombing raids against Islamic State in Syria, supporting Prime Minister David Cameron's case that the country needs to help destroy militants who are "plotting to kill us". After more than 10 hours of tense debate, lawmakers voted in favour of air strikes, by 397 to 223. Hours after the vote, four British fighter jets took off from the RAF Akrotiri airbase in Cyprus, a Reuters witness said. The destination of the jets was not immediately clear and there was no comment from British authorities. The victory hands Cameron the chance to restore Britain's standing in global affairs. He had urged lawmakers not to turn their back on allies such as France in their time of need. "Britain is safer tonight because of the decision that the House of Commons has taken," Foreign Minister Philip Hammond said. Many British voters are wary of being dragged into another war in the Middle East. Some view Western intervention in Iraq and Libya as a failure that sowed chaos across the region. News of the vote was met by howls of disgust by dozens of anti-war protesters demonstrating outside parliament. But the Nov. 13 attacks on Paris that killed 130 people and were claimed by Islamic State ISIS have stiffened the resolve of some lawmakers and divided the opposition Labour Party, which convinced Cameron he could win the support of parliament for extending air strikes beyond Iraq.(Reuters)