FOREIGN AFFAIRS – US TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM NORTHERN SYRIA – 8 October 2019
[The Minister for the Middle East and North Africa (Dr Andrew Murrison): Of course, the SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] is part of the coalition against Daesh. I admire our Kurdish friends and partners enormously, and our posture has not changed at all. We are talking here about the possibility of Turkey moving into north-west Syria – we do not know how far that incursion is going to be – and the fact that the US has said that in those circumstances it would withdraw 50 of its people from the immediate area. So we need a sense of proportion on this, but of course we have to react to circumstances.]
Dr Julian Lewis: I am sorry to disagree with my friend the Minister, but saying, “Oh well, it is only a withdrawal of 50 people” is like saying, “Oh, well, it is only the withdrawal of HMS Endurance before the invasion of the Falkland Islands.” Is it not a fact that if the green light is given to Turkey, under its Islamist regime, to attack our allies, it will be an act of treachery and betrayal not dissimilar to what happened in 1944 when Stalin basically gave the green light to Hitler to crush the Warsaw uprising?
[Dr Murrison: I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that. I disagree with his analogies, although we will be able to discuss that in some depth, perhaps when we have more time. The Government have been clear where we are on this: we would oppose any incursion by our good friend and NATO ally Turkey into Syria. He is tempting me to speculate on what we might do in the event that this happens. A lot of his remarks are probably better addressed to the US, and no doubt the US, which I am sure listens carefully to him, will have heard his remarks.]