Alistair Carmichael today called on the Secretary of State to do more to support the UK’s Kurdish allies, and to help protect them from Russia and Turkey’s growing influence in the region.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr. Carmichael said:
“One of the many risks of the position taken by President Trump is that it leaves the Kurdish Forces and population in Syria very vulnerable to attack by Russia, Turkey and others. The Kurds have been a very important part of the coalition of which we ourselves have been part. Can the Secretary of State give me some assurance that, whatever America does, we will take a stand for those who agree with us?”
Responding the Secretary of State for Defence, the Rt. Hon. Gavin Williamson MP, replied:
“I think that our Country owes a great debt of gratitude to the SDF and many of those other Kurdish forces who are part of the SDF, and I am already continuing in discussions with my French and US counterparts to ensure that we are doing everything we can do to continue to support what they do. Actually the war that they have waged alongside us against Daesh has been a vital and important one, and we shouldn’t forget the debt of gratitude towards them.”
Speaking after the exchange, Mr. Carmichael added:
“The Minister is right that we owe our Kurdish allies a debt of gratitude for their support in pushing back the forces of Daesh. It is a funny way of showing gratitude that involves abandoning them to face Russian and Turkish forces on their own.
“The Minister’s refusal to make clear his opposition to President Trump’s bizarre withdrawal from the conflict leaves our allies high and dry, and his assurances of all the support necessary seems fairly hollow.
“I agree with the Defence Secretary that we owe the Kurdish for their help in combating the rise of Daesh in Syria and beyond, but we do not repay that debt with warm words in the House of Commons.”