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Syria: a reading list

On 26 September David Cameron told the House of Commons:

‘I am very clear that ISIL needs to be destroyed in Syria as well as in Iraq. We support the action that the United States and five Arab states have taken in Syria, and I believe that there is a strong case for us to do more in Syria, but I did not want to bring a motion to the House today on which there was not consensus. I think it is better if our country can proceed on the basis of consensus. In this House, as I am sure we will hear in the debate today, there are many concerns about doing more in Syria, and I understand that. I do not believe that there is a legal barrier, because I think that the legal advice is clear that were we or others to act, there is a legal basis, but it is true to say that the Syrian situation is more complicated than the Iraqi situation. It is more complicated because of the presence of the brutal dictator Assad. It is more complicated because of the state of the civil war. We should be clear that we have a clear strategy for dealing with Syria, backing the official opposition, building it up as a counterpoint to Assad and working for a transition. As I have said, in the end, what Syria needs is what Iraq needs: a Government who can represent all of their people.’

This document is a reading list that covers the situation in Syria, the complexity of battling Syrian groups and of outside interventions, the legal implications of any UK intervention and other aspects that will form part of one of the House’s most significant debates of recent years.

This reading list accompanies a series of Commons Briefing Papers:

To consult any of the hard-copy material listed, please contact the Commons Library Customer Services Team on 020 7219 3666 or at:

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