BRITAIN’S approach to Syria has been “mistaken from the start” and made the situation worse, a former ambassador to Damascus claimed yesterday.
Peter Ford, who was ambassador to Syria from 2003 to 2006, told Radio 4’s Today programme that British policy had been “wrong every step of the way.”
He slated former prime minister David Cameron, suggesting he should have been prepared to either deploy British troops in a ground battle or refrain from “encouraging the opposition to mount a doomed campaign which has only led to hundreds of thousands of civilians being maimed or killed.”
The fact Britain has “made the situation worse … was eminently foreseeable to anyone who was not intoxicated with wishful thinking,” he stormed.
“The British Foreign Office, to which I used to belong, I’m sorry to say, has got Syria wrong every step of the way.
“They told us at the beginning that [President Bashar alAssad’s] demise was imminent. They told us he would be gone by Christmas — they didn’t tell us which Christmas so they could still be proven correct — but then they told us that the opposition was dominated by these so-called moderates, that proved not to be the case.
“Now they are telling us another big lie, that Assad can’t control the rest of the country. Well, I’ve got news for them, he is well on the way to doing so.”
His comments came after the Syrian government took full control of Aleppo on Thursday for the first time in four years.
Responding to questions of potential war crimes committed by Mr Assad, Mr Ford said: “It was also a war crime to use hospitals as command centres, which is what the jihadists did. It was also a war crime to use schools to store ammunition, which is what the jihadists did.”
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “The UK continues to believe in a Syrian-led political settlement. “
A political solution and transition away from Assad is the only way to end the suffering of the Syrian people.
“The Assad regime has the blood of hundreds of thousands on its hands. There is no way it can unite and bring stability to Syria.”