05:07 GMT +319 January 2020
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    Although pro-government forces, led by the Syrian Army, have defeated Daesh terrorists, and are set to remove remaining Islamist militants from Syrian territory over the coming months, some regional and world powers are continuing to call for President Assad's departure from office.

    The British government opted to take an Anti-Assad stance in the early weeks of the crisis, and have consistently pushed for regime change.

    "The UK government have to accept they backed the wrong side and that those they said were 'moderate rebels,' were in fact Islamist fundamentalists under different names. The only real exception was the Kurds. There have really only been two sides: those who support the legitimate Syrian government and those who don't," former Guernsey MP Anthony Webber told Sputnik.

    READ MORE: UK Continues to Insist No Peace in Syria Possible While Assad in Power

    Syria and the UK enjoyed good political and trade relations pre-crisis, with cooperation in a number of fields, primarily under the umbrella of wider collaboration programs and agreements with the EU.

    Officials on both sides are attempting to restore bilateral relations, with a delegation from the Anglican Church and House of Lords meeting with Hammouda Sabbagh — the speaker of Syria's People's Assembly — last month in Damascus. Members of this delegation included Baroness Caroline Cox, and the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Baron Carey of Clifton.

    Other current and former politicians are also calling for the restoration of diplomatic ties with Syria.

    "The UK needs to start with an apology to the Syrian people, for providing financial and military support to militants and for the damage done to the country as a result of Britain's destructive foreign policy. This needs to be done at the same time as restoring diplomatic relations with Syria and re-establishing the British Embassy there. The UK needs to be amongst those countries helping to rebuild Syria's cities, towns and villages, restoring damaged and destroyed Churches and other place of worship, and ensuring Syria's economy is built up again. Other countries, and not just Russia and China, are way ahead, and so far, the UK has done nothing," Mr Webber added.

    Sputnik News requested clarification from the Chief Press Officer at the UK Prime Minister's media office regarding Theresa May's stance on the Syria crisis, specifically, whether or not the provision of post-war reconstruction funding is entirely contingent on President Bashar al-Assad standing down. At the time of publishing, Sputnik is yet to hear back from the PM's media office.

    READ MORE: UK, France ‘Sabotage’ Syria Peace Efforts by Demonizing Assad Government

    Ultimately, it's firmly in Britain's interests to help stabilize and rebuild Syria, as it could pave the way for the return of Syrian refugees. This is particularly important for countries which have taken in large amounts of refugees, such as Germany and Sweden, as they are forecast to collectively spend trillions of Euros on migrant welfare over the coming decades.

    "Opportunities for the UK government to cooperate with the Syrian government include a planned programme of returning Syrian refugees to their home areas, and to help with the rebuilding of these areas. More and more of Syria is becoming safe to return to every day, so the British government can engage with the Syrian government to facilitate this. Indeed, many Syrians consider the promotion of Europe's open-door refugee programme to really be a policy to encourage their countrymen to run away, instead of staying to fight occupying terrorist forces," Mr Webber concluded.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik. 

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Tags:
    bilateral relations, geopolitics, Bashar al-Assad, Syria, United Kingdom
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