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British lawmakers vote to back airstrikes against ISIS in Syria

Video by BBC News

After debating the issue for more than 10 hours Wednesday, British lawmakers voted to authorize airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria.

With a 397-223 vote in the House of Commons, the UK government supported expanding its military action against ISIS with airstrikes in Syria, following the Nov. 13 Paris terrorist attacks orchestrated by the Islamist extremists, also known as ISIL or Daesh.

Shortly after the decision was made, several British aircraft took off from the Royal Air Force Akrotiri airbase in Cyprus, Reuters reported.

Early Wednesday, Prime Minister David Cameron made the case for bombing ISIS, describing them as “women-raping, Muslim-murdering, medieval monsters.”

“This is not about whether we want to fight terrorism, this is about how best we do that,” he said. “We simply cannot afford to wait. We have to act now.”

Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn called the move a “reckless and half-baked intervention.”

The UK had already been bombing ISIS targets in Iraq, a decision the British Parliament approved in September.

President Barack Obama said he welcomed the UK’s vote to join the international air campaign in Syria.

“Since the beginning of the counter-ISIL campaign the United Kingdom has been one of our most valued partners in fighting ISIL,” the president said in a statement released after the vote. “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,” he said.

Obama also praised Germany’s possible approval to dedicate up to 1,200 troops to support the coalition’s efforts against ISIS.