THE UK is ready to back up the newly founded Saudi coalition ground army, with air support in Syria, British military sources told the capitalist press yesterday.
The military said that the Royal Air Force are on standby to provide air support and ‘command and control’ to the newly formed Saudi coalition ground forces, sparking fears that Britain will be dragged into yet another quagmire in the Middle East.
However during a debate in the House of Commons yesterday, the Tory defence secretary Hammond said: ‘The proposition put to this House two weeks ago was clear and it was narrow. It was about conducting air strikes against Daesh in Syria. It was not about intervening in the civil war between the moderate opposition and regime forces.
‘Now, different members of the House may have different views about the wisdom of taking such action, but at the moment we are very clear: That is not what the UK is engaged in doing.’ However, later in the debate he said: ‘…The reason why we say that Assad cannot play a role in the future is not just because of the killing of civilians.
‘It is because we will not get a cease fire, we will not stop the killing, we will not stop the civil war until Assad has gone.’ During the debate, Conservative Member of Parliament for North Wiltshire, James Gray asked: ‘The Saudi Arabian initiative to form an Islamic military coalition which seems to me to be the basis for a very good ground force for the future.
‘It is quite right that we should not be involved in that in any shape size or form. ‘But will the Foreign secretary not agree with me that we do have some capabilities to offer in the form of perhaps command and control or training or things that do not involve British troops being on the ground in Syria, but nevertheless might make a contribution to the success of that coalition?’
Hammond answered: ‘We have ruled out the use of UK combat forces in Syria as indeed in Iraq, but we have not ruled out the provision of UK capabilities in support of combat forces provided by others. UK command and control, UK logistics, surveillance, gathering and analysis all could provide very substantial reinforcement to any troops that were deployed on the ground.’