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Non-lethal Equipment for Syrian Opposition

Volume 561: debated on Monday 15 April 2013

I informed the House on 6 March 2013, Official Report, column 961, that I intended to provide additional non-lethal equipment to the Syrian opposition in order to help save lives. I have today laid a departmental minute containing details of that gift.

The gift includes:

five 4x4 vehicles with ballistic protection and 20 sets of body armour to the Syrian opposition National Coalition’s assistance co-ordination unit;

three 25-tonne trucks, one 20-tonne truck, four 12-tonne trucks, six 4x4 SUVs, five pick-ups, one recovery vehicle and four forklifts to ensure that the assistance co-ordination unit has the means to deliver assistance in the quantities necessary to have an impact on the suffering in Syria; and

three advanced civil resilience kits for regional hubs and 22 basic civil resilience kits for other local councils; 107 generators; 130 solar powered batteries; hundreds of radios, water purification kits and rubbish collection kits; as well as basic administrative equipment—laptops, VSATs and printers. This equipment will support local administrative councils, through the National Coalition, to extricate the injured from the rubble in the aftermath of a mortar attack and to provide clean water and refuse management equipment to prevent the spread of disease.

Making the gift was a matter of special urgency because of the appalling and deteriorating situation on the ground and the urgent need to help the Syrian opposition deliver support to civilians. Owing to the Easter recess, this gift was notified to the Committee of Public Accounts to consider on Parliament’s behalf. I also wrote to the Chairs of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Defence Committee and Committee on Arms Export Controls to inform them of this process. As no objections were received, we have now proceeded with the arrangements to make these gifts.