On Friday, 20 August 2021, members of the Syrian British Council (SBC) met with Mr Afzal Khan MP, the Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons. During this meeting, the SBC briefed Mr Khan about the latest military, humanitarian and political developments in Syria. The SBC primarily focused on the inhumane siege imposed by the Syrian regime and its Iranian-backed militias on the governorate of #Daraa. Where the council conveyed the demands of civilians in the governorate, which are:
- The immediate withdrawal of the Syrian regime forces and its allied militias from the governorate
- The immediate cessation of hostilities against all civilians and the necessity to protect health facilities and humanitarian workers in Daraa
- The opening of UN-supervised humanitarian crossings for the unconditional entry of UN aid convoys to all affected areas in the governorate
The SBC also expressed its concerns and explained the political ramifications regarding the decision of HM Treasury – Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation to de-list Tarif Al-Akhras, one of the primary financiers of the Syrian regime, from the UK Sanctions List.
The SBC explained that Mr Tarif Al-Akhras was transferred from EU Sanctions into the UK Sanctions List on 31/12/2020 according to The Syria (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (SI 2019/792) for his role as a prominent businessman benefiting from and supporting Assad’s regime. Moreover, the SBC emphasised that the economic and logistical support provided by Mr Akhras to the Syrian regime continues to this day, which consolidates the ability of the regime to continue practising gross human rights violations and suppressing all voices demanding a democratic transition in Syria.
Mr Afzal Khan MP promised that he would spare no effort in raising the rightful humanitarian demands of the besieged civilians in Daraa in the UK’s House of Commons. He also promised to coordinate with other MPs to issue an official letter to the British’s Treasury demanding them clarify the political, legal and logistical reasons that prompted them to lift the sanctions on Tarif al-Akhras.
The SBC will continue its close coordination with UK Parliament and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to voice the demands of the besieged civilians in Daraa and to support UK’s efforts to promote justice and accountability in Syria.