The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford quizzed Boris Johnson over his Government’s commitment to helping put an end to the civil conflict ravaging Syria and supporting displaced Syrians in the area. Mr Blackford accused the Prime Minister of bypassing his questions before suggesting the British Government was “washing its hands” of the Syrian people. But the claim sparked a furious response from Mr Johnson: “I really think the Right Honourable Gentleman needs to consult his memory better because he will find that this country and this Government have persistently called for the end of the Assad regime.
“Indeed it has led the world in denouncing the cruelty of the Assad regime towards his own people.
“That has been continuously the policy of the British Government.”
Mr Johnson added: “The whole House will know what I’ve said in this House several times – the UK leads the world is supporting humanitarian relief efforts in Syria. £3.2billion this country has committed to that cause.”
Mr Blackford had previously claimed the Prime Minister had previously endorsed Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad during his tenure as Foreign Secretary.
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Boris Johnson issued a scathing response when Blackford questioned his commitment to helping Syria
Mr Blackford said: “In 2017, as Foreign Secretary, this Prime Minister enacted a policy of accepting the Syrian dictator Assad’s rule over the country.
“Assad has delivered death and destruction on his people, a man who has gassed his own civilians.
“The humanitarian situation has reached a crisis point and there are concerns of all-out war.
“Is the message the Prime Minister wants to send out of this House today is the British Government is washing its hands of the Syrian people?”
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Ian Blackford had Boris Johnson confused when he accused the Prime Minister of backing Assad
In 2018 Boris Johnson backed a series of US-led airstrikes in Syria, insisting the attack was about saying “enough is enough” to the Assad regime over the use of chemical weapons on civilians.
The Prime Minister branded Bashar al Assad “barbaric”, saying: “We are telling the world that this is one type of barbarism that is banned and that deserves to be banned.”
Mr Johnson in 2017 appealed of action against the Syrian dictator after more than 80 people were found to have died after government forces used sarin nerve gas on the population.
Discussing the attack at the time, the now-Prime Minister said: “Assad uses chemical weapons because they are not only horrible and indiscriminate. They are also terrifying.
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The SNP politician questioned the Prime Minister over his plans to help Syrian women and children
“In that sense he is himself an arch-terrorist, who has caused such an unquenchable thirst for revenge that he can never hope to govern his population again.
“He is literally and metaphorically toxic, and it is time Russia awoke to that fact. They still have time to be on the right side of the argument.”
The British Government in 2012 offered support to opposition forces with £5million in non-lethal equipment in addition to £27.5million in humanitarian aid.
Former Prime Minister David Cameron tabled a motion in Parliament in 2013 to ask for MPs’ support to intervene in Syria to prevent the use of chemical weapons but was defeated.
The UK has since carried out airstrikes in Syria in conjunction with international partners to fight against ISIS forces in the region.