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Syria: Military Intervention

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN HL10150, tabled on 10 November 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 9 November (HL9502), what response they have received, if any, to representations made to the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic to request the govrnment of Turkey to launch an investigation on the use of violence against civilian populations; and what assessment they have made of reports that more than 70 export licences have been issued by the UK for military products sold to Turkey containing white phosphorous over the last two decades.

Answered on

24 November 2020

We have encouraged the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria (COI) to investigate all alleged violations of International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law in Syria. We have not made specific representations to the COI to request Turkey launch investigations, as the COI had already called for this. We have therefore not received a response. We take our arms exports obligations very seriously and keep all our defence exports under careful and continual review. If licences are no longer consistent with the Consolidated Criteria they will be revoked. We have continued to make clear that any targeting of civilians is against International Humanitarian Law, but white phosphorus is a legitimate obscurant.