Jan 19, 2019, 2:20 PM
News Code: 83176245
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UK, allies to have no share in Syria's future: ex-envoy to Damascus

London, Jan 19, IRNA – A former UK ambassador to Syria admitted the failure of West's bellicose policies in Syria and said the United Kingdom and its allies will have no share in the future of the war-torn country.

In an exclusive interview with the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Peter Ford said he even expected these countries to face difficulties in reopening their respective embassies in Damascus.

'If the Americans leave, Britain also will have to leave… But the Foreign Secretary [Jeremy Hunt] is one of those people who can never have enough military intervention in Syria; and that’s why he is upset about President Trump's decision,' he said in his recent interview with IRNA.

Ford said though the British embassy building is being repaired, the UK doesn’t have any plan to reopen it anytime soon.

The former diplomat who served in Syria 2003-2006 further noted that the UK could not possibly be the first European power to re-open its embassy in Damascus but also it doesn’t want to be the last one either.

Most probably, the UK 'will soon be pleading to open the embassy' in Syria, he said, adding that Damascus may put some conditions for them.

Ford said that still Syria may agree with the UK's demand to re-open its embassy in Damascus with 'speculating conditions' because the UK is one of the countries who are conducted 'economic war', that is sanctions, against Syria.

Regarding the US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw American forces from Syria, he said, 'There is a lot of confusion in the American position.'
'President Trump did indeed say that ISIS has been defeated and therefore American mission has been accomplished and therefore he was going to order the immediate withdrawal of US troops. However, his advisors in the security establishment have put a lot of pressure on him to agree to slowing down departure.'

He added that they do this, partly, on basis that only a few thousand ISIS fighters are remaining and they no longer have any significant territories in control except for a few villages.

'On this pretext, Trump's advisors are trying to reverse the President's decision; they also claim a rapid departure could lead to massacre of the Kurds by the Turks who would intervene.'

'These same advisors are also claiming that it would be bad for Israel, which for them, is a top priority. But this is just wasting time; this is simply postponing the inevitable,' he added.

Saying that he has opposed the West's military interventions in Syria since 'day one of the conflict', Ford said that it was totally predictable that conditions will go back to what it was before the war, which is happening now.

He said that Syria has 'a strong president', who is not a dictator but rather was re-elected with a landslide victory in 2014, adding that democracy in Syria may not look like that in the West, but its president is 'no dictator; they have 'functioning government' in which 'responsibilities are shared.'

Answering a question on how the US is going to provide security for Israel while Americans are still in the region, Ford noted that Trump made some remarks a few days ago stating that Israel has a powerful military and they know how to look after themselves and Iran could do what it likes, but Trump's advisors are 'horrified' by such honesty on the part of president.

They are trying to save the face of Israelis and the warmongers in Washington, by making the pretence that they have a discussion with the regional countries, while it is just 'pretence' and 'absurd'.

Touching upon the role of Iran in Syria, he said, 'Iran has done a great job' in driving the terrorists out of Syria, helping the Syrian government in protecting the minorities and helping Syria economically.

He said Tehran was also there for the final phase but stressed, 'Iran has no plans to stay forever in Syria although they have an invitation to stay.'

Ford said that the Syrian government and its friends including Iran and Russia especially the Syrian people were clearly the winner of the conflict.

'But unfortunately the Syrian people have paid a heavy price for the Western intervention and for the activities of the extremists supported by the some of the [Persian] Gulf countries and Turkey.'

'America and Britain have failed in all their objectives' which were to overthrow the Syrian government and to install a puppet regime in Damascus, he underlined.

Regarding the new arrangements in the Middle East, he said, 'Very sadly, the United States sees the Middle East as a zero sum game, where every game for Syria, Iran and Russia must be seen as a loss for America.'

The US is basically incapable of understanding how efficiently cooperation against terrorism will work and cannot think of any situation where it has to stop interfering in the region, the former British ambassador said, stressing that the US is unlikely to have not learned anything from 'the dreadful experience of the past 8-years in Syria.'

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