23 Mar 16. Foreign Affairs Committee – Third Report of session 2015-16. The UK’s role in the war against ISIL following the Cessation of Hostilities in Syria in February 2016. Foreign Affairs Committee calls for UK to give greater priority to the immediate fight against ISIL. MPs say the fight against ISIL cannot wait for a comprehensive peace settlement in Syria. The priority should be to reach a preliminary agreement which allows the Syrian regime and opposition forces to focus on the fight against ISIL. The Cessation of Hostilities between opposing sides in Syria, which came into force in February 2016, represents a significant step forward in resolving the crisis in Syria. However, if ongoing peace talks in Geneva are to succeed, both the Syrian regime and opposition forces will have to compromise. Working with our allies, the UK should provide collective commitment to the future security and survival of the Syrian opposition, to encourage them to make the necessary compromises.
Chair of the Committee, Crispin Blunt MP, commented: “The tragic events in Brussels only serve to underline the urgency of the fight against ISIL. If the Syrian regime and opposition forces are able to agree a mutual purpose to reclaim Syrian territory jointly from ISIL, they can begin a positive founding narrative of a new Syria. This should ultimately allow for the resolution of the hard issues around the future of the leaders of the current Syrian government. It would be absolutely counter to our interests, and those of the Syrian people, if these talks were to collapse – and the UK might bear a share of the responsibility if the perceived client, the Syrian opposition, were the party responsible for any failure.”
Furthermore, MPs argue that Turkey’s actions against the Kurds are undermining the global battle against ISIL. Syrian Kurdish forces have proved important allies in the fight against ISIL, but Turkey has conducted airstrikes against Kurdish forces in northern Syria. Turkey has also reopened the conflict with Kurds within its own borders.
Crispin Blunt said: “The shameless actions of the Turkish President, in furthering his own domestic agenda, cannot be allowed to continue. The UK appears to be turning a blind eye to Turkey’s brutal suppression of the Kurds – almost certainly in return for Turkish co-operation on EU migration priorities. The UK should spearhead raising with Turkey their behaviour on the Kurdish issue, their airstrikes against the Syrian Kurds, their suppression of internal dissent and freedom of speech, and their destructive role in the political process.”
The report will be made available on the Committee’s website, www.parliament.uk/facom, on Thursday, 24th March at 00.01
House of Commons and House of Lords Hansard Written Answers
Asked by Lord West of Spithead
Asked on: 14 March 2016
Ministry of Defence
Armed Forces: Finance
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, following the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, how much extra money was made available for (1) the Royal Navy, (2) the army, and (3) the Royal Airforce, in 2016–17 and 2017–18.
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 23 March 2016
The Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force operate as fully integrated joint organisations where elements work closely together sharing land, buildings and facilities, and sometimes equipment. The enhancements made in the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) reflect their consequent integrated budgetary structure.
The Spending Review 2015 set out plans to fund the SDSR, and confirms the Ministry of Defence (MOD) budget settlement from 2016-17 to 2020-21. The Government has committed to increasing the MOD budget by 0.5 per cent above inflation over the course of this Parliament, and has ensured access to £2.1 billion from the new Joint Security Fund.
We will spend £178 billion on equipment and equipment support over the next decade, £12 billion more than previously planned. This money will