Although many politicians in the ruling Tory British government have expressed opposition to Syrian President Bashar al Assad, with some endorsing the UK’s role in the US-led strikes against Syria on April 13, some members of the opposition, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and members of his shadow cabinet, have called for restraint.
Shadow UK Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry told Prospect magazine on Wednesday that the West underestimates the level of support President Assad enjoys in Syria and suggested that opposition forces have exaggerated domestic opposition to the Syrian government.
“There is an argument that if [President Bashar al Assad] had been as overwhelmingly unpopular as the rebels told the west at the outset then he wouldn’t be there. I think there has been a depth and a breadth of support for Assad that has been underestimated,” the British shadow foreign secretary told Prospect magazine on May 16.
Shadow FM Thornberry went on to insist that all foreign forces need to leave Syria.
“They’re not fighting for the sake of the Syrian people. Any of them. Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, Turkey, America, Britain—have I missed anyone?”
She proceeded to add Russia to the list.
When questioned about Russia’s vetoing of UN resolutions she pointed towards other countries which have also blocked numerous resolutions and said it’s the nature of international politics.
“People will always block resolutions. If you look at the number of resolutions America has blocked, I mean that’s the way of politics,” Shadow FM Thornberry said.
The UK shadow foreign secretary went on to say Britain should support any peace process which yields results, whether that’s the Astana, Geneva or Sochi process.
“I think we should be working with whatever works, for the sake of the Syrian kids. None of this is revolutionary,” she added.
Despite the tripartite aggression by the US, the UK and France against the Syrian Army and other military personnel in Syria last month, government forces have continued to advance against terrorists throughout the country and once they deal with the final Daesh remnants in south Damascus, they are likely to take aim at either Deraa or Idlib.
On the topic of military intervention against Damascus, UK Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry warned that it could further destabilize Syria, citing Libya as an example.
“[It] has been such a disaster. Responsibility to Protect is not [supposed to be] a cover for ‘those people are being treated badly let’s go and bomb, everything will be fine.’ It didn’t work—look at Libya now,” FM Thornberry, who voted in favor of bombing Libya in 2011, told Prospect magazine earlier this week.