UK air strike on British citizen in Syria

Syrians outside the US embassy in London demanding no imperialist intervention in Syria
Syrians outside the US embassy in London demanding no imperialist intervention in Syria

YESTERDAY in Parliament, Tory PM Cameron admitted that the UK conducted a secret, illegal airstrike on Syria, targeting and killing a British national.

The ‘suspect’ was not tried in a court of law, simply taken out by a military drone in a criminal assasination. This action was in complete opposition to the will of Parliament which overwhelmingly voted against UK airstrikes on Syria in August 2013.

Cameron said: ‘Today I can inform the house that in an act of self defence and after meticulous planning Reyaad Khan was killed in a precision airstrike carried out on the 21st August by an RAF remotely piloted aircraft, while he was travelling in a vehicle in the area of Raqqa in Syria.’

Cardiff-born Reyaad Khan was 21-years-old and died alongside Ruhul Amin, from Aberdeen, and another fighter. Cameron continued: ‘As I said to the House of Commons last year and I quote “It is important to reserve the right that if there were a critical British National interest at stake or there was need to act to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe you could act immediately and explain to the House of Commons afterwards”.’

Cameron went on to say that the intelligence agencies informed him of the threat and a meeting was called with senior cabinet ministers and the Atorney General. The defence secretary then authorised the military strike without meeting with the opposition or the House of Commons first.

On the question of refugees, Cameron said that the UK would only accept 20,000 Syrian refugees over the rest of this parliament, a period of four-and-threequarter years.Labour leader Harriet Harman asked: ‘How many will it be this year? The crisis is immediate. Does that mean that it will be only 4,000 refugees this year?’

She said: ‘The government has authorised the targeting and killing of a man, a British citizen, in Syria, a country where our military force is not authorised. Will he confirm that this is the first occasion in modern times that this has been done?’

Cameron replied: ‘She asks is this the first time that a British asset has been used to conduct a strike in a country where we are not involved in war, the answer to that is yes. . . This is a new departure. She asked would I repeat this, I would say if it is necessary to safeguard the United Kingdom and to act in self defence, and there are no other ways of doing that, then yes I would.’

Kevin Brennan Labour MP for Cardiff West, Reyaad Khan’s constituency, said: ‘I am very upset that a 21-year-old British citizen that was my constituent was killed by a drone.’ He further wanted to know what threat he had posed to Britain and asked if his family had been informed.

Labour leadership front runner Jeremy Corbyn was asked yesterday if there were ‘any circumstance under which a Labour Party led by you would back air strikes against IS in Syria?’ He replied: ‘My view is, it would actually create more problems than it would solve and would lead to an intensification of a ground war.

‘What we have to do is obviously do everything possible to assist refugees not just from Syria but from all the other countries in the region, many of those in Libya also come from Eritrea and other countries and change the mood music in Britain about refugees, which at last has happened actually over the last week or so. And also applaud German for their open-heartedness and openness towards desperate people.’

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Germany is ready to accept 800,000 refugees this year, while France has pledged to take in 24,000.

• Syria has responded angrily to British Tory Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond’s latest attack on Syria. In two letters, addressed to the UN Secretary General and Chairman of the Security Council, Syrian Foreign and Expatriates Ministry charge the British government with ‘political hypocrisy’.

The fact that Britain denies Syria’s right to battle terrorist elements best reveals the country’s ‘political hypocrisy and the falseness of its claims about promoting democracy, fighting terrorism and protecting human rights,’ the ministry said.

Damascus also dismissed as ‘outrageous’ and ‘brazen’ London’s meddlesome stance on foreign-backed militancy in Syria, saying Britain has sent several of its nationals to Syria to fight in the ranks of the terrorists, including ‘Jihadi John’, the notorious executioner of Daesh Takfiri group. The British officials’, the letters said, are ‘meddling in issues that are not their speciality according to the international law and the UN Charter’.

‘The British government’, they said, ‘has no right to preach to others about democracy, human rights and combating terrorism when it itself has employed all its capabilities and brought into play its “colonialist experience” in providing all forms of support, including financially, militarily, politically and media-wise, to the terrorist organisations in Syria’.