Syrian soldiers trained in the UK
MEMBERS of the Syrian army have been trained in Britain over the past decade, the UK Government has said.
The admission that five members of the Syrian army came to the UK between 2001 and 2010 prompted criticism from the SNP defence spokesman, Angus Robertson.
He said: “While I do not doubt the sincerity of current ministers in their condemnation of events in Syria, there is a terrible paradox that the UK Government has played, until recently, a key role in training the Syrian forces now engaged in this bloody destruction.
“The Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office must explain why they trained members of the Syrian Armed forces in the UK, and what exactly the nature of that training was.”
The training of the Syrian Army was revealed in an answer by Defence Minister Nick Harvey to a parliamentary question posed by Robertson.
Harvey revealed that the UK armed forces have trained members of the Syrian Army in eight of the last years since 2001.
The Ministry of Defence said the UK had a long and successful tradition of integrating overseas personnel selected for officer training.
A MOD spokesperson said: “All overseas requests for defence training are considered on a case-by-case basis and it would not be provided if we thought such training would lead to human rights abuses. Providing defence training and education to overseas cadets at the same high standards used by UK armed forces helps build professionalism, accountability and raises awareness of human rights. It also helps build stability overseas as part of the government’s wider foreign policy goals.”
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