Dodds: We’re supporting Syria strikes because innocent civilians are dying

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DUP Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds says the party will be supporting the Government’s motion on UK military action in Syria.

Mr Dodds said: “Our test throughout has been one of realism. Our experience in Northern Ireland has taught us that no other approach can be brought to terrorism.

“We needed to know that the vile terrorists of ISIL/Daesh would be the target. We had to be sure that they are a clear and present danger to the UK. We needed to be convinced that British action would make a real and practical difference. And we required a definite strategic framework being in place, including a clear exit strategy for British personnel.

“After repeated briefings from the National Security Council on Privy Council Terms, and much discussion with the Prime Minister and others in government, we have concluded that the time is right for us to act, and to act decisively.

“Terrorism requires an answer from all civilised countries. We in Northern Ireland know what it’s like for terrorism to be ignored or appeased.

“Unlike the failed strategy advocated in 2013, which we opposed, there is now a realistic chance that overwhelming pressure can be brought to bear against Daesh.

“The Vienna agreement, the range of countries, now including Germany, ready to act militarily, and the unanimous support in the UN Security Council all point to the differences with 2013.

“Paris, like the downing of the Russian Metrojet in Sinai and the recent bomb attacks in Beirut, were assaults upon civilised values which must be met with resolve and quiet certainty. No other British City should have to suffer the way Belfast and other towns and places in Northern Ireland did for so many years. If we can realistically do something to destroy this evil, to prevent it spreading still further, we should act now.

“I applaud the specific commitments the Prime Minister has made in response to the points I have put to him, not least about the use of British ground forces. Western arms can do their bit to help address Middle Eastern problems, but ultimately they must solve their problems themselves.

“But the moment has come where we can no longer stand by on the other side. Civilians are dying, being raped or enslaved at the hands of ISIL/Daesh every day. These are the civilian casualties already happening and we must not through inaction prolong their suffering.

“Now that British armed forces are to be employed in the common good, it is the duty of every credible political figure to offer them his or her support. The Leader of the Opposition has a reprehensible track record of defending the claims of terrorists against our brave servicemen and women. “He will not easily be forgiven if he does so again. We wish HM Armed Forces success as they do their hard and necessary work, and pray for a safe return for them all.”