Obama welcomes British vote to join Syria air campaign

WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama hailed a vote Wednesday by British lawmakers to join the air campaign against the Islamic State group in Syria.

In a statement that also praised a German government decision to provide 1,200 military personnel to support the fight against the radical group, Obama praised a ”special relationship” with Britain ”rooted in our shared values and mutual commitment to global peace, prosperity, and security.”

Parliamentarians voted by an overwhelming majority to expand British participation in a counter-Islamic State air war in Iraq to neighboring Syria, offering Prime Minister David Cameron a much needed foreign policy victory.

Cameron had been humiliated in 2013 when parliament voted against strikes against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, a vote that left Obama isolated in pressing for air strikes in response to chemical weapons use.

”Since the beginning of the counter-ISIL campaign the United Kingdom has been one of our most valued partners in fighting ISIL,” Obama said in a statement.

”We look forward to having British forces flying with the coalition over Syria and will work to integrate them into our Coalition Air Tasking Orders as quickly as possible.”

Obama also praised a German cabinet move to bolster Berlin’s role in the crisis.

Ministers approved a package of measures, which still requires legislative approval, that would supply Tornado reconnaissance jets, a naval frigate and up to 1,200 troops.

”While this still requires German parliamentary approval, this is a clear sign of Germany’s continued commitment to the counter-ISIL campaign and to working with a broad range of partners to defeat this shared threat,” Obama said.

”ISIL is a global threat that must be defeated by a global response. The United States welcomes any partner’s genuine counter-ISIL efforts in Syria and Iraq, and I applaud the steps taken by the UK and Germany that demonstrate our unity and resolve. (AFP)