Britain made situation worse in Syria: Ex-envoy

London, Dec 23 (IANS) A former British ambassador to Syria has accused the Foreign Office of lying over the countrys civil war and said the British policy there has “made the situation worse”.

Peter Ford said the Whitehall department led by Boris Johnson and Philip Hammond before him had “gotten Syria wrong every step of the way”, reported the Independent on Friday.

He said that Britain’s Foreign Office was falsely claiming that Bashar al-Assad cannot control the country when he is “well on the way to doing so”.

Ford, who was Britain’s ambassador to Syria from 1999 to 2003, claimed that Britain misread and misrepresented the situation in the country since the start of the conflict.

“They told us at the beginning that Assad’s demise was imminent… and he’d be gone by Christmas. They didn’t say which Christmas, so they could still be proven correct,” he said.

It comes after the Syrian army reported that it had taken full control of Aleppo following weeks of heavy bombing and fighting in and around the city.

Ford said that when the conflict started, Britain should have either “put everything, including our own forces, on to the battle field, or if our judgement, as it would have been my judgement, that was not realistic, refrain from encouraging the opposition to mount a doomed campaign”.

He claimed Britain’s tough talk on one hand, followed by little action to back rebels in Syria had preceded a rebellion that had “only led to hundreds of thousands of civilians being maimed and killed”.

“We have made the situation worse.”

In a statement on Thursday the Syrian army said it had “returned security to Aleppo” and called it a “crushing blow” for rebels.

Johnson said earlier this month that there could be no military solution to the war in Syria, while Britain has consistently taken the line that Assad cannot be a part of Syria’s future.

–IANS

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