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Syria: Religious Freedom

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 38253, tabled on 24 May 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to ensure religious minorities are protected in Syria.

Answered on

2 June 2016

Syria’s conflict has developed from peaceful protests against the government in 2011 to a violent insurgency that has complex international angles. Asad’s brutal actions have fuelled sectarian violence and the growth of Daesh. His regime is ultimately responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians. We support the efforts of the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan De Mistura, to seek agreement on a process of political transition in Syria. We are clear that there can be no military solution to the conflict. The UN led negotiations remain the best opportunity to end the conflict and achieve political transition away from Asad, leading to an inclusive government which can represent all Syrians.

The UK, as a core member of the International Syria Support Group has agreed that protecting the rights of all Syrians, regardless of ethnicity or religious denomination is fundamental. This means seeking to ensure that Syrian minorities are included and safeguarded as the political process progresses. We are supporting non-governmental efforts to promote dialogue between different ethnic and sectarian groups in Syria, as we seek further progress on a political settlement.