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Britain has learned nothing from Iraq and Libya if it bombs Syria, says Syrian priest

by Aaron James

Revd Nadim Nassar was speaking as MPs debated in the Commons whether to extend current military action from Iraq into the neighbouring country.

Revd Nassar said Britain would be failing to learn from its intervention in Iraq and Libya, both of which have seen significant rises in Islamist extremism since British military action happened in them.

He also said that bombing would only encourage more people to join Islamic State and attack Britain, and that the only way to stop IS was to confront countries like Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which Revd Nassar claims are implicitly supporting the militant group by providing arms, buying oil and allowing fighters to leave their borders and fight with them.

Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states are part of the US-led coalition currently bombing Islamic State. However Revd Nadim Nassar called this "a farce" and "ridiculous", given what he claims is their complicity in the militant group's jihad.

The priest said Britain was failing to stand up to Turkey and Saudi Arabia, because the former is a member of NATO and the latter is a major exporter of oil.

He told Premier's News Hour: "The UK and the US have been bombing Isis in Iraq for the last two years - thousands of airstrikes.

"What happened to Isis? Isis is still there. The second largest city in Iraq - Mosul - is still under Isis.

"Money is still pouring into Isis from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries. The borders with Turkey are open for thousands of jihadis to pour in Syria and Iraq to join Isis.

"Do you think Isis is supported by some charities? Or some wealthy individuals?

"Once you are bombing you are creating more terrorists and more people will feel victims, and more people will feel angry, and you will increase the possibilities that those terrorists will strike again."

Revd Nassar had this message for parliament before its vote: "Stop listening to the warlords. The economy of war is not the sustainable economy; the economy of peace is the sustainable economy.

"Manufacturing arms and trading arms will not bring peace to the world and will not bring peace to the Middle East."

The vote on whether to bomb in Syria, which is scheduled to happen at 10pm, is expected to be passed.

Listen to Premier's Aaron James speaking to Revd Nadim Nassar:

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