Syria: Armed Conflict

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 4th March 2020.

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Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Conservative, New Forest East

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what his policy is (a) on support for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and (b) Turkish military intervention in northern Syria; what armed forces in Syria the Government supports; what recent assessment he has made of the implications for Article 5 of the NATO Treaty of conflict between (i) Turkish and (ii) other forces in Syria; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of James Cleverly James Cleverly Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

On the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), we pay tribute to courage and sacrifices made by the SDF, as partner of the Global Coalition against Daesh, in successful efforts against Daesh in Syria. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials have regular contact with representatives from different Kurdish political groups about the situation in Syria. The UK was clear in its opposition to Turkey's military operation in north-east Syria in October 2019, and welcomes the fact that the ceasefire in this area is broadly holding. On Idlib, we welcome Turkey's diplomatic efforts to seek an urgent and lasting ceasefire which is urgently needed. No request to trigger Article 5 has been made, and any decision on this would be taken collectively by allies at the North Atlantic Council. Finally, I responded to an urgent question on the situation in Idlib on 24 February.

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