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Britain just voted to bomb ISIS in Syria

Protesters participate in a "die in" protest in Parliament Square on December 2, 2015, in London, England, in advance of a vote in the House of Commons on whether to carry out airstrikes against ISIS in Syria.
Protesters participate in a "die in" protest in Parliament Square on December 2, 2015, in London, England, in advance of a vote in the House of Commons on whether to carry out airstrikes against ISIS in Syria.
Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images

Late on Wednesday, the British House of Commons voted 397 to 223 to approve Prime Minister David Cameron's plan to carry out airstrikes against ISIS targets inside Syria (previously, British bombs had only targeted ISIS in Iraq). Royal Air Force (RAF) strikes could begin within days or even hours.

The vote came after a long day of contentious debate and dramatic speeches, perhaps most notably a rousing and fervent plea from Labour Party Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn. In a speech that moved some parliamentarians to tears, Benn called on Britain to help defeat these ISIS "fascists" who "hold our belief in tolerance and decency in contempt." Here's video of the full speech, courtesy of the Mirror:

The context here is key: The British vote was a direct response to French President François Hollande's call for a global coalition to fight ISIS following the November attacks in Paris. The fact that Britain was responding to an attack that targeted one of its closest allies helps explain some of the passion behind Benn's speech, which some of his colleagues called "moving," "immensely powerful," and "one of the great speeches to be given in this House of Commons."