Thank you for contacting me about the conflict in Syria.
Ten years since the onset of the conflict, it is an unfortunate fact that progress towards peace and a Syrian-led political process, allowing the Syrian people to decide their country's future, remains slow. HM Government is adamant that a UN-facilitated peace process, in line with UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 2254, is the only existing means to achieving this end; it consistently upholds this resolution and urges all other parties to do the same.
Presidential Election: The UK, alongside allies (France, Germany, Italy and US), has been clear that it does not consider the Presidential election of 26 May, held outside of the framework described in UNSCR 2254, to be free, fair or legitimate. I am assured that the UK stands unwaveringly behind the UN Special Envoy for Syria’s efforts to promote a political settlement, based on all aspects of UNSCR 2254, which includes the right to vote in free and fair elections.
HMG's most recent assessment of the human rights situation in Syria documented little sign of improvement, with serious violations (including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture, sexual violence and severe restrictions on civil and political rights) continuing unabated. Syria remains one of 31 human rights priority countries for the Foreign Office, which continues to raise such issues in international fora as part of the UK's commitment to UNSCR 2254 and respect for human rights more generally.
Tragically, if unsurprisingly, the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people are as grave now as they have ever been. Millions are food insecure, with children bearing the brunt of the crisis. The UK is one of the largest donors to the Syrian humanitarian response having so far committed over £3.6 billion since 2012. Ministers have assured me that tackling the humanitarian impact of the Syria Crisis remains a UK priority.
Vaccines: The pandemic has, as in many other parts of the world, significantly worsened the humanitarian situation in Syria. The UK is committed to equitable access to vaccines as demonstrated by our £548 million contribution to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment – from which Syria is benefiting, with the first batch of vaccines having been delivered in April and the second in August. The UK is lobbying via the UN to ensure that these vaccines are distributed without interference and to those in the greatest need. Efforts via COVAX complement the UK's existing support to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in Syria, providing water, healthcare, hygiene kits and sanitation support for vulnerable Syrians across the country.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP