Britain vows ‘significant’ support for Syrian opposition
Britain will make “a significant contribution” to equip and train the moderate Syrian opposition to defeat both Islamic State extremists and the Damascus regime of President Bashar al-Assad, its foreign secretary said on Monday.
The statement came after a London meeting between Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Hadi al-Bahra of the opposition Syrian National Coalition.
“The UK is helping the opposition establish security and governance, and to deliver essential services. This includes life-saving search and rescue training, helping Syrians whose homes have been reduced to rubble by the regime’s bombs,” Hammond said.
Britain and other countries opposed to Assad increased aid to the opposition in the war-torn country in September.
“We are providing non-lethal equipment and the UK expects to make a significant contribution to the US-led Train and Equip programme,” Hammond said in the statement.
The foreign secretary also criticised Assad for a “brutal and indiscriminate” campaign against civilians and the opposition, and for failing to tackle Islamic State jihadists.
“Assad can play no future role in Syria,” Hammond said.
Over 195,000 people have been killed in Syria’s war, and more than half the population have been forced to flee their homes.