Envoys welcome UK Syria strikes

Diplomats in London have welcomed the vote by the UK Parliament to extend military action into Syria but said strikes alone would not be enough to defeat Daesh.

The French Embassy quoted French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who said the vote in favour of a motion to extend strikes into Syria was “a concrete demonstration of solidarity with our country”.

US Ambassador Matthew Barzun said the MPs decision was “testament to the shared determination between our two countries to degrade and destroy ISIL in Iraq and Syria.”

Turkish Ambassador Abdurrahman Bilgic told Embassy he welcomed the UK’s decision to “fight shoulder to shoulder with us against this evil.” But he added that other measures were also important, such as cutting Daesh’s finances, preventing its recruitment activities and countering the poisonous ideology.

Bilgic also urged a political settlement to end the Syrian civil war that had caused so many Syrians to flee their homes, more than two million of whom are now living in Turkey.

“We are committed to see a stable and prosperous Syria, with its political unity and territorial integrity intact, where Syrians that have unfortunately been dispersed around the world can return,” said Bilgic.

Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko welcomed the decision to extend strikes saying it was “impossible to defeat international terrorism with one country’s effort”.

However, he questioned the UK’s decision to limit its air strikes to Daesh targets, saying military action should be taken against other terrorist groups, such as Al-Nusra.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Ambassador Yakovenko also called for a concerted diplomatic effort to achieve a secular government in Syria, as set out by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) in Vienna.

World powers want negotiations between a unified opposition delegation and President Bashar al-Assad’s government on a political solution to the conflict to start by 1 January.