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Comments on Syria and the possibility of military intervention

August 29, 2013 11:55 AM

Commenting today on the situation in Syria, Nick Harvey said:

"The world cannot ignore the kind of atrocities we have recently witnessed in Syria. The pain and suffering will continue whether intervention takes place or not: that it why we should only move towards military action cautiously and without haste.

"It's good that today's debate will therefore be on principles only, and a final vote on military action will be held with full sight of the weapons inspectors' report. This is vital as the intelligence picture becomes clearer as to how firmly the outrage about last week's attack can be pinned on the Assad regime - and it is also important that we wait for the Attorney General's legal advice as to the legal basis for any action.

"There should be no action without international backing, which needs to be gathered for example from the EU, Arab League, and at least trying for a UN resolution. There are risks to any form of intervention and protecting civilians must be the top priority, so it is vital that only military targets are even considered. Syrian people have seen enough bloodshed. Fears of becoming embroiled in a conflict with no clear strategy and exit plan must weigh heavily: there needs to be a short-term specific authority and not in any way open-ended. It is also worth bearing in mind that the majority of any action undertaken would essentially be by the US - our contribution would likely be in a supportive role."