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Wednesday 31 January 2018

Syria briefing on Hezbollah

A supporter of Assad holds a Hezbollah flag in Damascus, 15 May 2008. Photo by Khaled al-Hariri, Reuters, via Newsweek.

Last week, UK MPs debated a call for all of Hezbollah to be banned by the UK. At the moment, the UK government makes a distinction between military and political parts of Hezbollah, proscribing only those parts it recognises to be clearly military.

The debate was spurred by a call from London’s mayor Sadiq Khan for Hezbollah to be completely banned after complaints to him about Hezbollah supporters openly parading in London with the Hezbollah flag.

The motion for the backbench debate, moved by Joan Ryan MP, focused on the threat to Israel from Hezbollah:

That this House believes that Hezbollah is a terrorist organisation driven by an antisemitic ideology that seeks the destruction of Israel; notes that Hezbollah declares itself to be one organisation without distinguishable political or military wings; is concerned that the military wing of that organisation is proscribed, but its political wing is not; and calls on the Government to include Hezbollah in its entirety on the list of proscribed organisations.

Syria Solidarity UK felt that Hezbollah’s current extensive crimes against Syrian civilians should instead be our most urgent concern, and in the days prior to the debate, we sent a detailed briefing to MPs across the House of Commons on Hezbollah’s attacks on Syrian civilians.

View and download a PDF version of the briefing.

Despite our briefing, MPs gave relatively little attention to Syria in their debate.

Read the 25 January 2018 House of Commons debate on Hezbollah.

In the debate, MPs made 106 mentions of Israel, 61 mentions of Lebanon, 38 mentions of Iran, and just 13 brief mentions of Syria.

UK MPs seemed more interested in talking about Hezbollah flags than about Syrian civilians under attack by Hezbollah.

There were 36 mentions of flags in the debate, compared to the 13 mentions of Syria.

Below is the full text of our briefing. PDF here.

Monday 1 January 2018

An evening with ‘Syria’s Disappeared’ and ‘Suspended’

Saturday 27 January 2018, 18:30–21:30
St James’s Piccadilly, 197 Piccadilly, London W1J 9LL

Syria Solidarity UK and The City Circle invite you to join us for a screening of Syria’s Disappeared. It tells the hidden story of the tens of thousands of men, women and children who’ve been disappeared in Syria. This will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s director Sara Afshar.

The evening will end with a beautiful musical performance by Sana Wahbaa on the Qanoon, a key instrument in Syrian music.

The screening will take place in the vicinity of Arabella Dorman’s art installation, Suspended, which highlights the plight of Syrian refugees.

Proceeds will go to the Starfish Foundation and Syria Solidarity UK.

The film screening starts at 7pm sharp.

Book via Eventbrite.

Facebook event page.

‘Suspended’ by Arabella Dorman. Photo by Tim Ireland, via It’s Nice That.