This letter was sent to Nick Clegg MP, and Deputy Prime Minister, and Martin Horwood MP, chair of the Lib Dem International Relations team, by Liberal Youth in an official capacity.
As a community of internationalist young liberals, Liberal Youth is deeply saddened by the litany of distressing news about the civil war in Syria. It is our belief that this bitter and savage
struggle, which has now claimed the lives of around 70,000 Syrians, is primarily the result of the actions of the dictator Bashar al-Assad. His refusal to accept the democratic aspirations of his
people has, we believe, sparked a conflict which is now in its third year.
However, we are also concerned about the desire of the British and French Governments to lift a European Union arms embargo and supply weapons to the rebel Free Syrian Army. We feel
that this is an irresponsible move which would fan the flames of conflict and destroy the last remaining hopes of a negotiated political solution.
Furthermore, we fear that arms may fall into the hands of Islamists whose ideologies are inimical to British interests. Even more so than Libya’s National Transitional Council, the
Syrian National Coalition is divided and weak; moreover, the al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra front is generally considered a terrorist organisation, yet is one of the strongest opponents of the Syrian
Government. Guns do not share our democratic values, and in this volatile region we should be wary of the consequences of even more weapons arriving.
In conclusion, Liberal Youth supports all humanitarian aid and efforts at a political solution. But we think that shipping arms to Syria is very unwise, and urge you, as a senior Liberal Democrat,
to make this case in Government.
Reece Edmends, Liberal Youth Non-Portfolio Officer
Lee Dargue, Liberal Youth Vice-President
David Green, Liberal Youth Scotland Chair
Euan Davidson, Liberal Youth Scotland Campaigns Officer
Sam Bennett, IR Cymru Chair