A call has been made for countries to stop sending arms to their ‘co-religionists’ in Syria by Louth and Horncastle’s MP Sir Peter Tapsell.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, the Father of House put the issue to Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire during a debate on Syria.
“May I put it to the minister, as I have on previous occasions to the Foreign Secretary, that the carnage in Syria is a manifestation of the 1,500-year religious civil war between Sunni and Shi’a that is now resurgent in Iraq and Pakistan, and elsewhere in the Islamic world?” Sir Peter asked.
“The only way to stop it in Syria is to persuade Saudi Arabia and Qatar on the one hand, and Iran on the other, to stop sending arms to their co-religionists before Syria inevitably breaks up into two separate countries, which would solve no problems at all.”
Mr Swire, the Conservative MP for East Devon, responded: “I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for giving us that historical perspective.
“Although I have not been to Syria for many years, I know the country relatively well, and I weep when I think of the human carnage being wreaked on it by that deluded Assad—given his interview over the weekend, there can be few in the House who would not agree with that term.
“On a positive point, the national coalition has committed to protect the rights of minorities and is also working to increase minority representative membership within the coalition.
“My right hon. Friend is absolutely right to say that we want to ensure that any peaceful, democratic transition to the more open society that the Syrian people deserve should respect the rights of all the citizens of that country, be they Alawite, Sunni or Christian.”