The proposal that chemical weapons in Syria should be handed into international control and destroyed has been welcomed today by the Island’s MP Andrew Turner.
The suggestion was made by John Kerry, US Secretary of State and has been followed up through Syrian diplomatic channels by Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov.
Mr Turner who two weeks ago voted against the UK launching military strikes said:
“Military intervention in a foreign civil war always has consequences for one side or the other. If British bombs weakened President Assad they would strengthen the Syrian rebels’ position and some of those rebels support Al Queda; it is hard to see how it could be in the UK’s interests for them to get their hands on Assad’s chemical weapons. That is why I was one of 81 Conservative MPs who wrote to the Prime Minister in June arguing against arming the rebels.
“If this diplomatic solution can be achieved and chemical weapons destroyed it would be the best possible result that could be achieved from a difficult situation. It is likely that both sides have already used chemical weapons – and there is nothing to suggest they wouldn’t do so again. The Syrian people have suffered terribly for two and half years. The chemical strike on Damascus on 21st August is just a drop in an ocean of despair. More than 110,000 people have died so far in this civil war and more than 2 million refugees have fled the country – half of them are children. There are also over 4 million people who have been displaced within the country. There will be no winners – only a least worst solution.”
Mr Turner welcomed the announcement of £52 additional aid from the British Government to support the Syrian refugees, taking the total to £400m
“This is a humanitarian crisis on an almost unimaginable scale. It is not of our making but we must help those poor Syrian people who have been suffering for many months. They don’t need more bombs – they need shelter, clean water and food. I am proud that Britain is stepping up to the mark; we are the second largest donor in the region after the USA. Other countries should also do their part to save innocent Syrian lives.”