London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Members of UK parliament voted in favor of Britain’s involvement in air strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq on Friday. The motion passed in the House of Commons does not authorize air strikes in Syria.
Downing Street said a small number of troops could be sent to Iraq within hours. The UK is expected to deploy Tornado fighters, some of which are in Cyprus.
Following a six-hour debate in an emergency recall of parliament, the government won the vote for UK air strikes by 524 to 43—a majority of 481.
British Prime Minister David Cameron pleaded with MPs to support the motion saying it was “morally right” to ask the British Armed Forces to take part in the air strikes.
“This is about psychopathic terrorists that are trying to kill us and we do have to realize that, whether we like it or not, they have already declared war on us,” he said.
Opposition leader Ed Miliband supported the prime minister in the UK involvement in air strikes. “I support this motion today because we would be responding to the request of a democratic state in Iraq fighting for its own survival,” Miliband told the Commons.
Belgium and Denmark also pledged to join the coalition effort against ISIS on Friday.
Belgium is to send six F-16 fighters and Denmark will contribute four operational planes and three reserve jets along with 250 pilots and support staff.
In Syria, ISIS militants have been advancing on Ain Al-Arab near the Turkish border where they are battling Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
150,000 Syrians have fled the fighting in the border region into Turkey in the past week.