Was PM Warned About Syrian Rebel Numbers?

Was PM Warned About Syrian Rebel Numbers?

Military officials warned the Government against saying 70,000 Syrian rebels were ready to join the fight against Islamic State (IS) in Syria, according to The Times.

The newspaper says there were fears it could make the Government a hostage to fortune & turn into David Cameron's "dodgy dossier".

Britain launched airstrikes on a Syrian oilfield on Wednesday after the Prime Minister won the backing of a large majority of MPs.

A key part of the argument was that there were 70,000 Syrians ready to battle IS on the ground once the US-led air raids had done their job.

That figure has been questioned by critics who argue many of the "rag tag" Syrians are likely to be Islamists & cannot be relied on.

But a No10 spokesman said: "The 70,000 figure was produced by the Joint Intelligence Committee, which includes in its membership officials from the Ministry of Defence.

"The Ministry of Defence did not raise concerns with No10 on whether this figure should be included in the PM's response to the Foreign Affairs Committee."

Tony Blair, who was haunted by claims made approximately Iraq's military capabilities in the "dodgy dossier", has meanwhile welcomed the "important" vote on British action against IS in Syria.

Mr Blair claimed European forces had to lead the response to the "threat at our door" & "within our home".

The former prime minister said it was moreover necessary to adopt a wider strategy that included tackling Islamist ideology.

He warned a continued failure to recognise the scale of the challenge would lead to terrorist attacks "worse than those in Paris".

Delivering the Kissinger Lecture at the Library of Congress in Washington, Mr Blair said defeating IS – moreover known as Daesh – was "only a necessary beginning" because "force alone will not prevail" & "the Islamist ideology has moreover to be confronted".

He cautioned: "A continued failure to recognise the scale of the challenge & to construct the means necessary to meet it, will result in terrorist attacks potentially worse than those in Paris."

This, he added, could produce "a backlash which then stigmatises the majority of decent, law-abiding Muslims & puts the very alliance so necessary at risk, creating a further cycle of chaos & violence".

Source: “Sky News”