Britain must strike at the very heartland of Islamist extremism.
That is the message the Portsmouth area’s MPs are issuing as the nation’s political leaders today look to vote on whether the UK will bomb Isil in Syria.
I think it’s right that we now join our allies and bring the first-class capabilities of our military to bear on combatting IsilFareham MP Suella Fernandes
It comes in the wake of the terror atrocities in Paris almost three weeks ago, which have since seen the French retaliating with air strikes in Syria.
Fareham MP Suella Fernandes backed the prime minister David Cameron’s plea to bomb Isil in Syria.
She said the UK had to act to destroy the terror threat at its source before it was too late.
Speaking to The News before today’s vote in Parliament, Miss Fernandes said: ‘The unprecedented scale and nature of the threat from Isil is the greatest in 30 years. The attacks in Paris, Ankara and Beirut are horrific demonstrations of that threat. We know our police and security services disrupted seven terrorist plots to attack the UK in the past 12 months alone, so this threat is very real.
‘Given the severe threat to our country and the unanimous backing of the UN Security Council Resolution, giving military action a clear legal basis, I think it’s right that we now join our allies and bring the first-class capabilities of our military to bear on combatting Isil.’
The UK is already bombing the terror group in neighbouring Iraq.
The PM said air strikes in Syria would target the headquarters of the Islamist extremist group in Raqqa.
But anti-war campaigners from Portsmouth aren’t convinced it will help eradicate Isil.
Last night, members of the Stop The War Coalition held a candlelit vigil in opposition to the bombings. Around 50 people went along to the protest outside Portsmouth Guildhall.
Jon Woods, who is a member of the activist group in the city, said: ‘I’m totally opposed to UK bombing of Syria. Bombing will make what is already a terrible situation even worse.
‘It’s like if you see a house on fire, you don’t throw petrol on it to put it out.
‘There will be more civilian deaths and there will be more refugees created. The bombings will also drive people into the recruitment arms of Isil – it will help them with their propaganda.’
Muslim leaders have condemned the idea of bombing Syria and called on other solutions to be sought.
Mohammad Mukith, who worships at Portsmouth Central Mosque and is the former chairman there, said: ‘There should be a political solution. I don’t support military action.
‘I’m concerned about the civilians. There are civilians and children who have been captured by Isil. They have no protection.’
He added: ‘I don’t think anybody supports Isil.
‘Nobody wants them to establish a “state”.
‘They are a terrorist organisation, terrorising the whole community.
‘There should be a political solution to try to get to the root of the problem.’
But the former head of the Royal Navy, Lord Alan West, has said more needs to be done to tackle Isil.
‘I have no doubt we should support this. The fact that we drop a few bombs over a border we created in 1922 and which Isil doesn’t recognise is neither here nor there.’
Lord West said the UK should support the coalition already bombing Syria.