'Illegal, unethical and dangerous': Baroness Cox condemns Syria air strikes

The Baroness suggested the incident in Douma "if it happened at all" could have been carried out by jihadists rather than Bashar Assad's government forces

The Baroness suggested the incident in Douma "if it happened at all" could have been carried out by jihadists rather than Bashar Assad's government forces

Monday, April 23, 2018

A peer who took part in a controversial visit to Syria has condemned the UK's participation in air strikes and questioned whether there had been a chemical weapons attack in Douma.

Baroness Cox said the military action by the UK, US and France in response to the use of chemical weapons was "illegal, it was unethical and it was dangerous".

She suggested the incident in Douma "if it happened at all" could have been carried out by jihadists rather than Bashar Assad's government forces.

The crossbench member of the House of Lords was challenged on BBC's Radio 4 Today programme about whether her visit as part of a delegation of British peers and prominent Christian figures had been a "propaganda coup" for the Assad regime.

Lady Cox's visit earlier this month included a meeting with the Grand Mufti of Syria, who has been accused by Amnesty International of authorising the mass hanging of prisoners in the country's Saydnaya jail.

The peer said she was not aware of the claims and "if that's the case I don't in any way condone it".

Defending the trip, she said: "We went to be with the people at a difficult time, to learn what was happening in the country and to hear their voices."

Referring to the attack on Douma, she said: "If it happened at all, it could have been done by the jihadists in order to bring in precisely that kind of response from the UK and US and that is a green light to a jihadist to do it again to bring in further assaults from the West."

She said there was "terror on both sides" in the Syrian conflict but said people were concerned that British foreign policy was aimed at "forced regime change".

"Many of them have never supported the regime, many of them do now see the government as the only way of getting rid of the horrendous terrorists," she said.

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