A SYRIAN in Oxford has said that everyone in his home country will be “disappointed” with the House of Commons vote against military intervention.
The man, who wanted to remain anonymous as he feared for the safety of his family in Syria, spoke out after the Prime Minister David Cameron’s motion for military action was defeated by 285 votes to 272 on Thursday night.
He said: “The Syrian people will be very angry if there is nobody to intervene. There are people in Britain who say ‘we have nothing to do with this part of the world’. “But if you don’t move against Assad and those dictators, they will have something to do with your world in the future. “Today they are using chemical weapons in their land, next it could be your land.”
Five out of six Oxfordshire MPs, including the Prime Minister, were defeated in the vote for intervention in Syria on Thursday night. Oxfordshire Conservative MPs Ed Vaizey, Nicola Blackwood, Tony Baldry and John Howell all voted with the PM and Witney MP David Cameron in favour of action. But Labour Oxford East MP Andrew Smith voted against the motion because, he said, of the number of requests he had from constituents. He said: “Given the awful situation in Syria, there is a fear that the West getting involved would be pouring petrol on the flames. “We don’t know where that will end in terms of reaction from other Middle Eastern countries.”
Mr Smith voted “very strongly” for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. However, he said: “The situation in Syria is even more uncertain than what confronted us in Iraq because of the potential for it to escalate into a regional war.”
One of his constituents, 60-year-old Eleanor Watts from Rose Hill has spent time in Lebanon and occupied Palestine training primary school teachers. She said: “I became aware of how ignorant we are of Middle Eastern relations. I am hugely relieved we have an MP who voted against unjustified military action, which could have made the situation there worse.” Dr Hojjat Ramzy, representative of the Muslim Community in Oxford and Director of the Oxford Islamic Information Centre celebrated the news.
He said: “I’m not on anyone’s side – I’m on the side of peace. This decision has saved thousands of lives.”
Dr Ramzy also said that if Syria was united against Assad’s regime, he would have been overthrown by now.
David Cameron asked MPs to vote that they “deplored the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime” and agree that “strong humanitarian response is required from the international community and that this may, if necessary, require military action that is legal, proportionate and focused on saving lives”.
Wantage and Didcot MP Ed Vaizey said: “The use of chemical weapons is unacceptable and Britain should play its part in ensuring Assad is punished for using them.”