Syria - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:00 pm on 20 March 2017.

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Photo of Baroness Anelay of St Johns Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State 3:00, 20 March 2017

My Lords, we certainly do not see the Assad regime as bringing benefits to the Syrian people. This is a regime which has been found by a series of independent United Nations reports to have used chemical weapons and committed war crimes against the Syrian people. The regime is currently denying humanitarian aid to 1.4 million Syrians living in siege-like conditions. The UN has found it responsible for bombing an aid convoy last September. It simply is not true to say that all armed opposition are terrorists. The opposition fighters in rural Damascus, for example, are not extremists, nor were the vast majority of fighters in eastern Aleppo. The UK provides political and practical support to the moderate opposition. This has included communications and medical equipment, as well as equipment—as the House will understand—to protect against chemical weapons attacks. We do not provide weapons to anyone in Syria. The recipients of UK assistance are always rigorously and continually assessed to ensure that they are not involved in any extremist activity or human rights abuses.