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Us Troop Withdrawal from Northern Syria

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:41 pm on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Murrison Andrew Murrison Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development) 12:41 pm, 8th October 2019

Nevertheless, Mr Speaker, I think the eloquence of my right hon. Friend probably justified the time he took.

I will try to address some of the points my right hon. Friend made. I absolutely agree with him about this being primarily an issue about Daesh. To answer his question about foreign fighters and others, my worry would be that this will divert the SDF from its activities against Daesh in the Euphrates valley—absolutely, 100%.

My right hon. Friend will understand that we are talking to all our interlocutors at the moment. This situation is very kinetic and very fast-changing, and we of course need to ensure that, so far as we can, we influence our partners in the way that he has just described.

As I understand it, the US withdrawal, if it happens, will be fairly small-scale. It will involve a small number of troops in the immediate vicinity of the border. That is our understanding. We do not support any incursion by Turkey into north-west Syria.

My right hon. Friend will know from previous outings at the Dispatch Box of the extent, breadth and depth of support for the crisis in Syria. We are among the top few in terms of our financial contributions to that awful humanitarian disaster. I hope that that begins to address some of the points he raised.