FOREIGN AFFAIRS – COUNTER-DAESH CAMPAIGN IN SYRIA – 24 October 2017

Dr Julian Lewis: Does the Minister accept that the reason why bombing Daesh in Syria was so much more controversial than bombing it in Iraq is the same as the reason why there have been so many more RAF airstrikes in Iraq than in Syria? Namely, we want the ground forces of the Iraqi Government to win in Iraq, but we claim not to want the ground forces of the Syrian Government to win in Syria. Does he accept that the outcome of the welcome squeezing out of Daesh in Syria is down to a combination of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and Syrian Government forces, whether we like it or not? The 70,000 so-called moderates are now well and truly dominated by Islamists, and as the right hon. Member for Islington South and Finsbury (Emily Thornberry) said, we ought to be careful about whom we support.

[The Minister for the Middle East (Alistair Burt): I am not going to go over previous discussions about this, and I understand the point of my right hon. Friend’s question. The coalition forces in Syria that have been backed in relation to Raqqa contain a variety of forces, but not Syrian regime forces. We still hold, and are right to hold, the Syrian regime responsible for a large proportion of the atrocities in Syria, and that should not be forgotten or glossed over. President al-Assad is responsible for launching murderous attacks on his own people, and it has been right to separate, in so far as is possible, coalition forces fighting Daesh from those of the regime.]