Philip Hammond: UK won't go to war on Syria

Philip Hammond: UK won't go to war on Syria
Sun Sep 1, 2013 08:47:31

British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond says his country would not participate in any military action on Syria after Prime Minister David Cameron’s ambitions to attack Syria along US faced deadlock in the parliament.

"I hoped we would carry the argument but we understand there is a deep well of suspicion about involvement in the Middle East," Hammond said.

Referring to the US administration, Hammond said "They will be disappointed that Britain will not be involved. I don't expect that the lack of British participation will stop any action," and added that the decision would harm Britain's relationship with Washington.

Hammond said the fear of being dragged into a wider conflict and the legacy of the UK's decision to take part in the Iraq war 10 years ago had swung the vote in parliament.

"It's certainly going to place some strain on the special relationship [with the U.S.]," he said. "The Americans understand the parliamentary process...Perhaps they have been surprised by the scale of opposition."

He added that he imagined the Syrian government would welcome the decision of the UK parliament.

Worries mounted in the region following US intentions to bomb Syria over conflicting reports of an alleged chemical attack that is widely believed to have been committed by Syria's US-backed militants to open the way for their Western and Arab supporters to attack Syria.

Following more than seven hours of debate in a special parliamentary session, lawmakers voted 285 to 272 against a government motion on the broad principle of intervening in Syria following the Aug. 21 suspected chemical-weapon attack near Damascus which killed hundreds of people.

The Barack Obama administration, backed with Israeli intelligence services, says it has concluded that the Syrian army has used chemicals near Damascus.

However the US has failed to provide evidence of its claims against Syria while international condemnation grows against its military ambitions.

The US claims come as Syria has already provided UN with evidences on at least three chemical attacks carried out by US-backed militants near the Syrian capital.


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