London- Mr. Tobias Ellwood British MP expressed to Asharq Al-Awsat his enthusiasm on what has been achieved on the subject of war against ISIS.
Mr. Ellwood also spoke of the victories claimed over recent months after the efforts of the international coalition, and how ISIS has lost foothold in critical areas it had previously conquered. The British MP also elaborated on the weak structuring of the terrorist organization, a controversial explanation to all the reports on ISIS’s vast control over areas in Iraq and Syria. He explained that the terrorist group has not accomplished any progress since May; instead it has lost 40 percent of grounds it used to control in both Iraq and Syria.
Moreover, Mr. Ellwood explained how the Russian pounding over Syrian moderate opposition areas hurdles the political process in Geneva. He also added that Britain’s approach is diplomatic in nature, and works through supporting the Syrian negotiations. The Russian airstrikes play to ISIS’s benefit, and does not help end the suffering of people in Syria nor aid the process of political transition.
Hereto is a selected set of topics broached on with MP Ellwood
* On the subject of Russian interference in Syria, especially with the late intensified airstrikes coinciding with the negotiations, what is your view point on the matter?
Mr. Ellwood explained that Russia and the Syrian regime must not sit for the negotiations while civilian blood is purposely being shed, in a clear infringement to international humanitarian law. All negotiating parties must aim towards putting an end to the Syrian suffering. However, Britain still is very confident that the peace talks are the proper solution for the Syria crisis. Political transition away from Assad is decisive when it comes to the Syrian suit. The postponing of negotiations might give some space for both parties to reassess what has been already discussed, and ensure that all the participants are guided by good intentions.
* In the year 2015, an approximate 220 thousand refugees crossed the Mediterranean, most of which escaping the war in Syria. Given the U.K. is a part of the program on refugee resettlement, how will Britain respond to the refugee influx, other than giving shelter to 20,000 Syrian refugees in the next 5 years?
In view of that subject, Mr. Ellwood said that Britain, according to British Prime Minister David Cameron, has taken upon itself the resettlement of 20 thousand refugees in the course of the upcoming five years. However, the refugees taken in will be prioritized according to the severity of their cases, mothers, children, and those in need of healthcare will be put first. One thousand refugees have entered Britain so far. Yet, to be frank, the cost of hosting a refugee in the U.K. could be provided to the near Syrian countries, which will play to the benefit of the refugee’s ultimate desire, that is to return home and start over again in their beloved homeland. The Syrian refugees staying near borders will facilitate their return, of course after a fair political solution is implemented guaranteeing justice to their rights.