Statement from Welsh Labour leader, Carwyn Jones on Syria

"I know that everyone in the country is thinking very carefully about the situation in Syria, and our potential involvement in airstrikes against the terrorist organisation. It is a difficult choice for all MPs, including our Welsh Labour MPs, and I offer them my support as they wrestle with this most difficult decision. I thought it was important to set out my views, as expressed in the Assembly yesterday.

"I take the view that there needs to be a final plan for Syria. I don’t see that at the moment. I take the view there needs to be thought given to which ground forces are going to be supported. I don’t see progress on that at the moment. I do take the view that there’s no difference in reality between Iraq and Syria. The border’s effectively disappeared. But, what concerns me is that we should not repeat the mistakes of Iraq more than a decade ago, taking military action without fully planning the endgame. Bringing peace to Syria must be our final objective. I do not see sufficient evidence of that plan yet on the part of the Prime Minister.

"Syria has been de-stabilised is because there’s not been a coherent and consistent international view about which side or sides should be supported in the ground war. Until that is clear it is very difficult to see what air-strikes would achieve beyond creating a situation where Daesh remains on the ground but we see more and more civilian casualties.

"If there’s evidence to suggest that it would support ground forces in their objective in ridding that part of the world from Daesh, if there’s evidence to suggest it would shorten the conflict, if there’s evidence to suggest that it would lead to a plan for peace in Syria, I would personally support air-strikes. But that evidence is not yet there and my concern is that too much emphasis has been given to air-strikes and not enough on what needs to be done to bring peace to Syria.

"I have huge admiration for our armed forces, and I would not want to see those brave men and women being placed in a position where politicians had not given sufficient thought to what they were put there to do."

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