Thank you to everyone who has emailed me regarding the situation in northern Syria.
Responding to an Urgent Question in the Commons on Tuesday 8th October, Andrew Murrison MP, the Minister for the Middle East, said the Government was consulting with the US on its response to the planned military action in north-east Syria. Dr Murrison emphasised that US policy is a matter for the US Government, but noted that the US Department of Defense had said the US does not endorse a Turkish operation in north-east Syria.
Dr Murrison also stated the UK Government’s position is that Turkey must avoid unilateral military action, as it would destabilise the region and threaten efforts to secure the lasting defeat of Daesh.
As you will know, Turkey started its military operation on 9th October.
I am incredibly concerned by the US decision to open the door for this operation. Our Kurdish allies have led the fight against Daesh and lost thousands of fighters in the process.
However, concern will not help the Kurdish people, and so I believe the Government must take immediate steps. The Government should work through the UN Security Council and the High Commissioner for Refugees to make it clear to Turkey that it must not forcibly resettle non-Kurdish Syrian refugees in the Rojava region in an effort to change its ethnic composition.
The Government should also redouble its efforts to reach a genuine peace settlement in Syria, a political solution and the negotiated withdrawal of all foreign forces. Kurdish representatives should finally be invited to join the Syrian committee on constitutional reform, so that they are able to stand up for their rights.