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Britain warns of worsening situation in Syria

January 30, 2014 at 11:28 pm

Britain’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has issued a warning about the worsening situation in Syria. William Hague called for more help to reach a political solution and aid the transition to a new government.

Commenting on the speech by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad earlier this week, Hague told Britain’s House of Commons, “With the regime’s intransigence and brutality there is a serious risk that the violence will indeed worsen in the coming months.”

Hague also accused the Syrian government of using SCUD missiles and cluster bombs against populated areas. “Entire urban districts have been reduced to rubble in cities like Homs and Aleppo,” he said.

Nevertheless, Hague insisted that the best way to end the bloodshed and protect all of Syria’s communities is through a political agreement and transition. “Our country has a moral obligation to help save lives in Syria, and a national interest in ensuring that the country provides no haven for terrorist activity,” he told MPs.

While he said that coordination with the Syrian opposition is a must to achieve stability, Mr. Hague warned about imposing outside solutions. “We know that to achieve lasting stability we must work with the Syrian opposition and countries of the region, not try to impose a political settlement from outside.”

As far as a possible political role for Britain is concerned, Hague added: “Our goal remains to persuade Russia and China to join us in putting the full weight of the UN Security Council behind a political transition plan for Syria.”

He expressed his appreciation of the efforts of the Syrian opposition coalition to broaden its support base, noting that although this builds up it legitimacy, much work remains to be done. “We’re working to strengthen moderate political forces in Syria committed to a democratic future for the country.”

Britain has provided £7.4 million in support for the Syrian opposition, civil society and human rights defenders, and Hague told the Commons that the government is to provide an additional £2 million.