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Stop the War opposes lifting the arms embargo on Syria

Jeremy Corbyn MP, joined by peace campaigners and activists, delivered a letter the UK Foreign Office on Wednesday 20 March 2003, calling on prime minister David Cameron, foreign secretary William Hague and the British government not to exacerbate the conflict in Syria by supplying even more arms to the region.

European Union foreign ministers are set to meet in Dublin on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 March to discuss lifting an arms embargo on supplying weapons to the conflict. On the tenth anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the Stop the War Coalition is adamant that such action is likely to inflame the situation and lead to further suffering for the Syrian people, and risk a wider regional conflict.

The United Kingdom and France have been leading the charge to overturn the embargo, and for this reason Stop the War is campaigning against the actions of the British government.

The text of the letter reads as follows:

Dear Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary

We write to express our alarm at your call for the EU arms embargo on Syria to be lifted. We deplore the fact that the Syrian conflict has resulted in a destructive civil war, and urge you to acknowledge that supplying more weapons for this conflict will make a bad situation worse.

Fighting in Syria has already spilled over into Lebanon and Iraq. Increasing the number of weapons circulating in this heavily-armed region carries the clear danger that an escalating conflict may encourage a regional war.

The people of Syria are experiencing a tragedy of huge dimensions. In February this year, the United Nations estimated that 70,000 have already died as a result of the conflict, many of them civilians. Over 200,000 more Syrians have fled the country and between four and six millions are internally displaced.

We call on you to take no action likely to increase the conflict. We call instead for the governments of Britain and France to throw their weight behind an inclusive Syrian-led solution and help bring this civil war to an end. We urge the European Union meanwhile to uphold its arms ban.

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Chair
Lindsey German, Convenor
Stop the War Coalition, 20 March 2013