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Russian involvement in Syria complicates UK’s role, says Hammond – The Guardian

Britain’s role in ending the Syrian crisis has been “complicated” by Russia’s involvement in the conflict, Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary has said.

Speaking with his US counterpart, John Kerry, Hammond said the possibility of a fresh vote on British military action in Syria was under constant review but he indicated the government had reservations about the involvement of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

The US secretary of state, who is on a three-day visit to the UK, said American and Russian defence secretaries had held extensive talks by telephone on the fight against Islamic State, also known as Isil.

Speaking after the meeting at the Hammond’s official residence in London, Kerry said: “Would we welcome Russian help in going against Isil? Obviously. We have talked about it for some period of time.

“But the other part of the equation is [Syrian president] Assad and how you resolve the fact that he is a magnet for foreign fighters to come to the region.”

Hammond said the government had been clear that if it believed airstrikes in Syria were necessary it would go back to parliament for a vote.

“We keep that situation under continuous review and we will continue to talk to our allies about the military situation in the round.

“Because of the Russian engagement, the situation in Syria is becoming more complicated. I think we need to discuss this as part of a much bigger problem: the migration pressures, the humanitarian crisis in Syria as well as the need to defeat Isil.”

Russian involvement in Syria complicates UK’s role, says Hammond – The Guardian

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