David Cameron meets Syrian refugees as UK begins rebel talks

 
David Cameron walks with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees representative to Jordan Andrew Harper Mr Cameron said he had heard some "horrendous" stories at the border camp

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David Cameron says he is determined to give Syria a brighter future as he met refugees of the conflict at a camp on the Syrian-Jordanian border.

Britain is to begin talks with armed Syrian rebels in a bid to unite the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad, the UK prime minister said.

The discussions are due to take place in Jordan and Turkey.

Visiting the refugee camp on Wednesday, Mr Cameron said the suffering of refugees was "horrendous".

Up to 500 people a day have been arriving at the Za'atri camp, Mr Cameron was told, some having walked 15 days in order to try and find shelter.

Mr Cameron, who flew into the camp by helicopter, said UK humanitarian support for the victims of the 18-month conflict in Syria would be increased by £14m to more than £50m - making it the second largest donor after the United States.

David Cameron says he would like President Assad to see "full international justice"

It is thought that Mr Cameron is the first leader of a G20 country to visit Syrian refugees in Jordan to see the conditions they face.

"I wanted to hear for myself the stories of people who have been bombed and shot and blasted out of their homes in Syria by a deeply-illegitimate and unpleasant regime that is raining down death and destruction on its own people," he said.

"It is truly horrendous to hear those stories and just redoubles my determination that now, with a newly-elected American president, we have got to do more to help this part of the world, to help Syria achieve transition."

Foreign Secretary William Hague is said to have given his special envoy to the Syrian opposition, John Wilkes, the go-ahead to arrange the meetings with rebel groups opposed to the Assad government.

A spokesman said Britain would not be arming the Syrian rebels, or giving them access to military advisers.

Mr Cameron added: "There is an opportunity for Britain, for America, for Saudi Arabia, Jordan and like-minded allies to come together and try to help shape the opposition, outside Syria and inside Syria, and try to help them achieve their goal, which is our goal of a Syria without Assad."

Safe passage

The conflict has been high on the agenda for Mr Cameron's talks with the leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates during his three-day trip to the Gulf.

He said on Tuesday that he was prepared to see President Assad allowed safe passage out of Syria if that would help ensure a peaceful power shift. But Mr Cameron insisted he would "favour him facing the full force of international law and justice for what he's done."

No 10 said the talks with Syrian rebels would help the UK "better understand the actual situation and the relationship between political and armed opposition groups".

A spokesman said: "The government will make absolutely clear to these groups that they must respect human rights and humanitarian law standards. We will also call on them to work with aid agencies to facilitate vital humanitarian access."

More than 30,000 people have been killed in the violence in Syria which began last year.

An estimated 2.5m people in the country need humanitarian assistance, and the number of refugees in the surrounding region is predicted to almost double to 710,000 by the end of December.

On the final day of his trip to the region, Mr Cameron will also hold talks with the King of Jordan.

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 629.

    628. Underclass Underdog - I rated up your comment, as i agree with what you are saying, its not like we as a nation have no money, its that that money is spent extremely poorly and it seems oversight for decades has been close to zero. I apologise for jumping to conclusions about you. Its just my opinion is we have to help those abroad and those at home at the same time. We cant not do either.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 628.

    624. Luke

    The Tory's seem to take great delight and relish every opportunity to remind us every chance they get that we have only seen the min of 20% of the cuts, as yet.

    But third world aid is ring-fenced, so at least our starving children, in the UK, will find some small comfort in the fact our gov is doing right by the Syrian Butchers and arming mad militants for a brighter future, globaly

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 627.

    I have a dream... "BBC Breaking News! Today British PM David Cameron says he is ready to come to Damask and to lead transitory Syrian government for 6 months (authorizing his deputy Nick Clegg to act as temporary head of the Cabinet during this time) if President Assad resigns and leaves Syria. "

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 626.

    624. Luke

    That isn't what I said at all.

    Typical liberal response, shout "racist" when you're losing.

    "Meanwhile Osborne is sticking rigidly to his programme of spending cuts, as much as 80% of which are still to come, according to a recent analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies."

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/mar/21/budget-2012-osborne-deficit-reduction

    There are more E.G's

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 625.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 624.

    620. Underclass Underdog wow what a racist comment, so just because they are Muslims they must all be bloody terrorists. And just cause the IRA exists all Irish are terrorists as well? And because someone you know kids mugged by a black kid, all blacks are criminals.... what an erroneous comment.

    "And with another 80% of cuts to come" really 80% cuts? wow...really ok.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 623.

    The government of the UK is only pro-freedom when it concerns extremist minorities having their say. How many catholic priest jokes have I seen on here? Yet mention one thing about the Rochdale grooming gang...

    Or anything at all to do with islam, and just to prove my point, I bet the gov sponsored beeb censors this

    So why exactly does a religion of peace, in Syria, need access to weapons again?

  • Comment number 622.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 621.

    Tired of people bashing the UK and the BBC, its completely ridiculous. The UK is so pro-freedom that they allow immans to breach hate speech against the very country they live in, I for one agree for the right for them to do that, i disagree with their message but agree with their right to spew that message. You don't even have that freedom in the USA.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 620.

    614. Luke

    Look around you, watch the news, the one about this country, not somewhere on the far side of the world, that regime you describe is the norm way of life to them. Those people love that way of life. They pretend they need help, take our money, then laugh at us and kill us without a second thought and never attempt to better themselves. How many billions have we poured into the middle >

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 619.

    610. The March Hare

    Absolutely agree that DC should not comment but comparisons can always support your opinion. This as not a problem we should get involved in, we have enough problems to deal with at home.

    Anyway my opinions are clearly viewed as an inconvenience so bed for me and feel free to use the down arrow

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 618.

    615. Underclass Underdog
    Do you live in a different reality to me??

    I cannot begin to comprehend how anything that will happen in Britain in the near future will make Syria look like a "pre-schooler's brawl." Unless through some horrendous twist of fate you become prime minister.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 617.

    @.607.Sj3000.

    Yes,
    Assad does need removing,but not with help from us.It's none of our business.We shouldn't be joining America in trying to police the world.It just doesn't work.Also,it's interference in the middle east and Afghanistan that is partly responsible for the Islamist terrorism that's happening here.They don't want us meddling.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 616.

    608.
    Underclass Underdog

    They deleted everything else I had to say. Glad something got through.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 615.

    607. Sj3000

    The UK government as killed probably twice that many already with their insane, sociopathic cuts and outright neglect of responsibility to their citizens. Get real.

    And with another 80% of cuts to come, what's going to happen here will make Syria look like a pre-schooler's brawl.

    My guess is you will pretend not to notice, just like you are doing now, and hope it's not you next.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 614.

    606. whambam the world isn't so black and white, and to say so just to make a point is silly. The UK government is like Eden compared to the Syrian regime, sit on your comfy chair and cast judgement all you like. The UK is a paradise compared to most of the world. Go move to Syria if its so great and its regime is so legitimate.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 613.

    Ah yes. Cameron. Like other tories, royals, nu-labour and various other toffs, when the going gets tough in Great Britain it's time to divert attention away and have a shufty at some other country.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 612.

    @608. Underclass Underdog

    Difficult to comment, post deleted!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 611.

    In ten years time people will be looking back on this last year alongside the tragedies in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia and asking why didn't anybody do anything to prevent yet another tragedy

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 610.

    @606.whambam.

    No,they're not as legitimate as the UK government.
    I can't stand this government,but we can get rid of them and we don't get stuck with anyone for 42 years(Gadaffi).Also you are free to say what you like about David Cameron and I don't think you'll get shot for it !
    Having said that,he's got no business messing about in the middle east or anywhere else for that matter.

 

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