UK military presence in Syria ‘unlikely’ :Hammond

UK military presence in Syria ‘unlikely’ :Hammond
Thu Jul 18, 2013 19:32:33

Britain’s defense ministry says deployment of British troops in Syria for a military intervention is “unlikely” while no option has been taken off the table in dealing with the Syria crisis.

Philip Hammond’s comments come after the outgoing head of the UK's armed forces said Britain risks being dragged into war with Syria if it tries to rein the Syrian army soldiers and arm the insurgents.

Britain’s General Sir David Richards, chief of the defense staff, on Thursday officially handed over the role to General Sir Nicholas Houghton at a parade in central London.

Hammond, who attended Thursday's parade and commended Gen Richards' time as armed forces chief, said: "I think it's very unlikely that we would see boots on the ground (in Syria), but we must never take any of the options off the table”.

"It's not our job to decide how and when and if to deploy forces in any particular role, but to make sure that the prime minister and the national security council have the maximum range of options open to them so that they can use military options as part of a much broader palette of diplomatic and political initiatives to try to achieve what we all want to achieve, which is peace and stability in that region of the world."

Britain has been one of the greatest supporters of the bloody insurgency in Syria that has taken more than 90,000 lives.

Together with France, Britain pushed for lifting an EU arms embargo over the insurgents in Syria which led to worldwide concerns.

On Thursday, Gen Richards described the situation in Syria as a "huge humanitarian tragedy" and said the first thing to do was to contain the situation better, particularly in neighboring countries such as Lebanon and Jordan.

"First of all the UK won't do anything by itself; it will act with allies, in particular with the USA," he said.

"We are not taking anything off the table, but we are being very cautious for reasons I am sure everyone will understand."

Britain has not ruled out providing military support to the militants in Syria which are mixed with a huge number of extremists and terrorist groups flowing to the country to fight against the government.

According to a poll by the British daily The Independent in June a majority of the British public are against sending arms to the insurgents in Syria.

Extremist groups such as al-Qaeda have used West's silence on their crimes, and as the war goes on they are starting to take their own shares of the war and set up their bases. 

A source in the opposition armed group recently revealed that al-Qaeda planned to set a state of its own in north of Syria.

The conflict in Syria started in March 2011, when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of Western and regional states.

The unrest, which took in terrorist groups from across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, has transpired as one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history.

As the foreign-backed insurgency in Syria continues without an end in sight, the US government has boosted its political and military support to Takfiri extremists.

Washington has remained indifferent about warnings by Russia and other world powers about the consequences of arming militant groups.


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