Lord Alton of Liverpool – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool on 2014-04-01.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports of an attack on 21 March on Kessab in northern Syria; whether they have made any estimate of the number of those killed in the attack and of those who have fled the town as a result; whether they have received any reports about the desecration of churches in the town; and what assessment they have made of the possible involvement of the Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham in the attack.

Baroness Warsi

We are concerned by the reports of violence in Kessab, although it is impossible to establish an accurate figure of the numbers of people who have been killed or displaced. We believe that the majority of the ethnic Armenian population of the town has left, along with many other Syrians, because of the fighting in the area. We have not received any confirmed reports of churches being desecrated and we call for all places of worship to be respected. We understand that a range of groups has been involved in the fighting, including the Al-Nusrah Front. We urge all sides to the conflict in Syria to respect international humanitarian law and the rights of all Syrians. Both the Syrian National Coalition and the Free Syrian Army have repeatedly made clear their commitment to protecting all civilians, regardless of religious, ethnic and political affiliation.