The United Kingdom has worked very hard both diplomatically and militarily to try and bring an end to the war in Syria, the UK’s Minister of State for Middle East and North Africa told Al Arabiya on the tenth anniversary of the conflict.
“We have also helped to try and to feed and to shelter the people who have been forced from their homes and we’ve also provided refuge to Syrians that have fled Syria into Europe and indeed into the UK. Ultimately, what we want is for the Assad regime to engage with the UN process to bring this war to a conclusion, so the Syrians can go back to their homes, and this suffering can end,” UK’s Minister of State for Middle East and North Africa James Cleverly told Al Arabiya.
Britain on Monday announced targeted sanctions against six members of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, including Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, for “repressing the Syrian people or benefitting from their misery.”
Cleverly admitted that the UK does not pretend that sanctions alone are enough to change the situation on the ground but that it had to demonstrate accountability.
“We don’t pretend that these sanctions are the only thing that we’re doing but it’s important that we demonstrate to those who have perpetrated atrocities that they will be held to account,” he told Al Arabiya.
The measures announced on Monday comprise of travel bans and asset freezes and come on the 10th anniversary of the Arab Spring uprising in Syria. They also target an Assad adviser, two senior military commanders and two businessmen.