News / Middle East

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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by: Grin Olsson from: Alaska, USA
November 10, 2012 6:44 AM
The situation in Syria is tragic. As an American I'm concerned over requests for United Nations and Western intervention where two different ideologies of "Islam" is at hand, yet, when the clashes are between nations of Islam and secular or Christians, there is no request or help from Islamic nations to stop the violence.

Another issue is that the Sunni rebels are being supported by Qatar and Saudi Arabia the very same nations whose citizens bombed American soil at 9/11. Maybe the West is on the wrong side in this conflict as the Syrian govern is secular and protects all Islamic faiths including Christians and Kurds.

Maybe someone can enlighten me?

by: Anonymous
November 10, 2012 12:09 AM
The only way Assad would leave Syria is if he was either a) killed or b) pulled by the hair physically.

Assad doesn't care one bit about the country of Syria. Calling the civillians terrorists, blaming the west, and denying atrocities commited by his regime are the only thing he can do to try and stay in Syria a bit longer. It isnt working, everyday the hatred for Assad is growing more and more by not only Syrian Civillians but also people worldwide.

When Assad gets captured and if he gets a trial and sentenced in Syria lets just hope it is a Syrian Sword that serves his justice.

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