On the last day of this parliament, Ian Austin MP used his question to the Foreign Secretary to alert the Commons to the impact of events in Syria on the Kurdistan Region.
Ian Austin (Dudley North) (Ind)
What assessment he has made of the effect of the US Administration’s decision to withdraw support for Kurdish forces on regional stability.
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and First Secretary of State (Dominic Raab)
The UK has consistently opposed Turkish military action in Syria. We condemned it with our European partners and we are concerned about the impact it will have on stability, on the humanitarian crisis and also on the counter-Daesh effort.
I thank the Secretary of State for his answer. Abandoning the Kurds, who led the fight against IS, has seen over 10,000 refugees fleeing to Iraqi Kurdistan on top of the 1.5 million displaced people it is already generously caring for, so will he increase humanitarian work and the Kurdistan region’s ability to defend itself against Daesh?
Does he agree that this has also strengthened Iran and its proxy terror arming Hezbollah, and that Israel, the middle east’s only democracy, must be protected from that threat?
I thank the hon. Gentleman; he has followed this subject for a long period and has experience and insight. We are worried, and our main concerns are around the humanitarian situation and the stability of northern Syria. Notwithstanding the removal of Daesh leader al-Baghdadi, which we welcome, we are worried about the medium-term impact on counter-Daesh strategy in the region. So while we welcome the ceasefire brokered by Vice-President Mike Pence in relation to northern Syria, we are also seeing an accommodation between the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Syrian regime and indeed Presidents Erdoğan and Putin, and that is counter both to our counter-terrorism efforts but also to the humanitarian plight that the hon. Gentleman rightly raises.