Following the publication of the Government’s strategy for tackling ISIL/Daesh in Syria, Copeland MP has asked the Prime Minister to clarify points of the strategy in response to a number of key issues. These relate to the ongoing refugee crisis, humanitarian aid, international and diplomatic co-operation and the issue of non-British ground troop support.
Any British assistance with regard to the existing international intervention could potentially increase the number of displaced peoples in Syria and as a result Jamie Reed has asked the Prime Minister to re-assess the number of refugees that Britain is prepared to accept from UN refugee camps.
On the issue of humanitarian intervention, the UK is already providing significant support, but if the number of people displaced increases as a result of Britain joining the already underway international action, more resources could be necessary. As a result, Mr Reed has asked the Prime Minister what support he is giving to countries neighbouring Syria in this regard. By providing more and better support, more refugees will be able to remain safely in the region.
Jamie Reed has been clear that any intervention must be accompanied by an international political effort to achieve a long term solution in Syria. This is tentatively underway through the Vienna talks and the International Syria Support Group which includes Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France, Iran and the USA. To ensure that these nations are supportive of the Government’s plans, Mr Reed has asked the Prime Minister what response he has received from these countries to his plans to date.
Finally, members of the Defence Select Committee have suggested that military intervention by Britain in the form of air strikes would require ground troops to hold, protect and administer territory taken from ISIL/Daesh. In response, the Prime Minister has said that there are approximately 70,000 moderate fighters in Syria that would act as the ground support. This is a crucial issue so Jamie Reed has asked the Prime Minister to be clear about the reliability of these fighters as support for British air strikes. The Prime Minister has also ruled out British ground troops being deployed.
This comes as the Copeland MP has pledged forensic scrutiny of the proposals that are expected to be voted on before Christmas.
Copeland MP, Jamie Reed said:
“Our country simply cannot afford to get this wrong. It is the responsibility of every Member of Parliament to scrutinise these proposals in detail. Only by getting this right can we degrade and defeat the fascists of ISIL/Daesh. This issue transcends party politics, but the Labour Party has a proud history of standing up to fascism in all its forms. We must never cede from fighting the terror and oppression perpetrated by this terrorist organisation.
“The Government’s plan must be comprehensive. This means that in addition to extending British air strikes from Iraq into Syria to join the already underway international efforts, the Government must also present plans to deal with humanitarian crises, engage with international partners to reach a political settlement for Syria and to also look at how ISIL/Daesh territories will be secured.
“These are important questions and I hope that the Prime Minister can provide reassurance on these points. There is no doubt that we must defeat ISIL/Daesh and because of this, I will take my time to ensure the Government’s proposals continue to receive the level of scrutiny that is necessary.”
Here are the questions Jamie Reed tabled:
To ask the Prime Minister with reference to his statement on the 26th November 2015, what assessment the Government has made of the potential for increased displacement of peoples in Syria as a result of British assistance with the already underway international intervention against ISIL/Daesh; and if this assessment has has impacted on the Government policy to take 20,000 Syrian refugees
To ask the Prime Minister with reference to his statement on the 26th November 2015, what assessment he has made of the reliability of the 70,000 moderate ground forces as international partners in the fight against ISIL/Daesh
To ask the Prime Minister with reference to his statement on the 26th November 2015, what representations has he received from members of the International Syria Support Group in response to his published strategy for tackling ISIL/Daesh
To ask the Prime Minister with reference to his statement on the 26th November 2015, what humanitarian support Britain is providing to countries neighbouring Syria to assist with the likely increased displacement of peoples as result of the coordinated international response to Isil/Darsh in Syria.