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Britain Pushing Harder for International Resolution in Syria

  • Selah Hennessy

As opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad meet in Doha, Britain is pushing for greater international involvement in the ongoing crisis in Syria. Some analysts say that pursuing a political solution, rather than a military one, is Britain's best play for Syria.

In Jordan, British Prime Minister David Cameron visited Syrians in Zaatari camp, which houses about 30,000 refugees, and he said the international community needs to put a new focus on solving Syria's conflict.

"We want Assad to go. We want to see a peaceful, political transition and a safe country for the future. But right now, the international community has to recognize, that what we have done is not enough," said Cameron.

While on a trip to Thailand, Britain's Foreign Secretary, William Hague, presented a written statement to the British parliament that Britain will begin talks with the armed opposition in Syria. But he said the rebels will not be supplied with arms.

Diplomacy has been largely fruitless, with Syria's allies at the U.N. Security Council, Russia and China, repeatedly blocking attempts to hit Syria with tougher sanctions.

In a televised interview that aired Friday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned the international community against getting involved.

"It is not about reconciling with the people, and it is not about reconciliation between the Syrians and the Syrians; we do not have a civil war," said Assad. "It is about terrorism and the support coming from abroad to terrorists to destabilize Syria. This is our war."

Alia Brahimi, from the London School of Economics, said if Britain does want to help resolve the crisis in Syria, it should focus on the political rather than the military approach.

"To look at extending intense and perhaps military support to the armed opposition in Syria is very dangerous because that kind of effort so far, particularly on the part of some Gulf countries, has only led to the exacerbation of the conflict," said Brahimi.

A video, which cannot be independently verified, appears to show clashes in Aleppo in northwestern Syria, part of escalating violence.

As battles continue inside Syria, the Syrian opposition has been holding talks in Qatar aimed at forming a political alternative to Assad's rule. Up until now, sharp divisions within the opposition have hampered attempts to oust Assad.

Forming a united political front may be the only chance to bring peace to Syria, though, according to Michael Kerr, of King's College London.

"At the minute China and Russia are resisting any efforts to push Assad out without something that will replace him that does not negate their interests in Syria," said Kerr.

Britain and its Western allies are banking that replacement can come out of the opposition meeting in Doha. Until then, thousands of Syrians continue to flee into neighboring countries.

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