The leader of the SDLP, Colum Eastwood, says his party will not support British military action in Syria.
British Prime Minister, David Cameron, will seek the backing of parliament on Wednesday when MPs are asked to vote for or against British air strikes against so called Islamic State in Syria.
“My colleagues in Westminster will not support the proposed military action in Syria,” said Mr. Eastwood.
“This complicated problem will only be exacerbated by brute force. Air strikes on their own are not enough to combat the threat posed by IS, and in almost three hours in the Commons last week, David Cameron failed to demonstrate that he has developed any strategic plan which would follow. The war in Iraq which we voted against led to the formation of IS and similar action, we fear, would only create more difficulties down the road.”
Mr. Eastwood said the the air strikes would result in the death of innocent Syrian civilians.
“If David Cameron gets his way, within hours of the vote the headquarters of IS in Raqqa will be hit by air strikes and innocent civilians used as human shields will become collateral damage. There are all sorts of claims that air strikes are a precise form of attack. Yet we know from experience in places like Gaza that they’re not. I’ve been at the scene of an air strike the day after someone pressed the button. I know the devastation they can have. This is not the right way to deal with the threat from IS.”
He added: “The bar is higher after Iraq. We know the action we take now will have repercussions which is why the highest test must be placed on the Government’s plans. We believe it has not passed it.”
The SDLP currently has three MPs at Westminster.