Bishop of Leeds asks Government about funding of anti-democratic Islamist forces in Syria

leeds-20117On 20th December 2017 Baroness Cox asked the Government “what is their assessment of the current situation in Syria”. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, asked a follow-up question:.

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, would the Minister agree that there is a danger here that support for, and funding of, anti-Assad forces, however understandable that may seem from the outside, might lead to exactly the same unintended consequences that we have seen in Iraq—namely, the strengthening of anti-democratic Islamist forces who have no intention of delivering the freedoms that we assume they should?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: I assure the right reverend Prelate that the Government are very cognisant of the situation he has illustrated. We remain absolutely determined to ensure that all the delivery mechanisms for any funding that is provided, through the Foreign Office funding pot or DfID agencies, are robustly challenged and checked. In the case illustrated by the noble Baroness, Lady Cox, we will cease funding until we are satisfied that those in receipt of the funds fulfil the mandate of ensuring that they bring peace to the civilians of Syria and ensure equity and justice for all communities across Syria.