New Forest East

DFID – AID TO SYRIA – 30 April 2018

Dr Julian Lewis: I must express disappointment that, while rightly damning the monsters in the Syrian Government, my right hon. Friend still has nothing to say about the maniacs – the jihadists – who lead most of the armed Oopposition. Can she tell us whether this aid will be supplied only to displaced Syrians outside Syria or, if it will be supplied to Syrians within Syrian territory, whether it will be supplied to Assad-controlled territory, to territory controlled by the armed jihadist Opposition or to territory controlled by the only people we have ever been able to support militarily – the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces? Those forces are currently under attack from Turkey, which she has just described as one of our friends in the region.

[The Secretary of State for International Development (Penny Mordaunt): Turkey is a key NATO ally – I hope my right hon. Friend would want me to describe it as such – and it is supporting an enormous number of refugees. I very much understand his concern on this issue. The way we distribute aid is based on need, and we obviously have protections to ensure it is distributed as it should be. The main obstacle to that happening is access to particular areas, but aid is not being given to terrorist groups and it is not being abused in that way.​

Most of the armed Opposition are now dead. Back when we had the vote on the Floor of the House in 2013, there were 12 groups that nobody could describe as extremists or terrorists, and they were the best hope for a peaceful and good outcome to this situation. We are now faced with a situation in which Assad will continue his campaign, despite no restrictions being put on negotiations by the Opposition groups. The only peaceful outcome in Syria will be with the consent of all parties, which I am afraid does not point to Assad remaining there.]