Syria Conflict: Cameron Vows regime and more help
Wednesday 07-11-2012: Qubanaha.com: David Cameron is planning a wholesale re-evaluation of Britain’s policy on Syria including whether to arms rebels or call for military intervention after being “deeply moved” by the plight of refugees in Jordan.
The Prime Minister was expecting to use his first conversation with Barack Obama to tell the newly re-elected US president that the international response to the civil war in Syria “simply isn’t working”.
He said: “Right here in Jordan I’m hearing appalling stories of what is happening inside Syria and one of the first things I want to talk to Barack about is how we must do more to try and solve this crisis.”
The PM, who visited the Zatari refugee camp, said: “I wanted to hear for myself the stories of people who have been bombed and shot and blasted out of their homes in Syria by a deeply-illegitimate and unpleasant regime that is raining down death and destruction on its own people.
“It is truly horrendous to hear those stories and just redoubles my determination that now, with a newly-elected American president, we have got to do more to help this part of the world, to help Syria achieve transition.”
Mr Cameron has called a session of the National Security Council next week which will focus entirely on Syria.
The PM’s officials travelling with the him to Zatari, which houses about 20,000 of the estimated 200,000 refugees who have fled Syria into Jordan, said he was convinced of the need to “totally re-examine” all of the assumptions behind existing policies.
These will include whether it continues to make sense to have a European Union arms embargo which prevents the supply of weapons to Syria’s rebels.
It would also include re-considering whether the UK should call for air strikes against targets which maintain the military structures of President Bashar al Assad.
So far, tough action against Syria has been blocked at the United Nations Security Council by Russia and China – the former is a major arms supplier to Mr Assad’s forces.
“We will be doing a full re-examination of the policy and thinking hard about what to do about Russia and China,” a Number 10 official said.
Washington and London have so far ruled out military action in Syria and have supplied only non-lethal aid. The US contribution is around \$27m (£17m). The UK less, £5m.
Mr Cameron announced an extra £14m in humanitarian aid for refugees while he was in Jordan.
But these figures are negligible in comparison to the hundreds of millions being spent on supporting the rebels with arms by Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
One way the West could re-gain influence over a civil war which has collapsed into sectarian conflict and is sucking in militia from neighbouring Lebanon and Iraq, may be to offer military aid – even without a UN resolution backing it.
“People have been blasted from their homes and fleeing for their lives – 30,000 have been killed. We have to do more to put an end to this,” the PM said.
Britain would now begin direct talks with armed groups fighting the Syria government, officials said.
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