Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Friends of Syria, on the role of the APPG.

An introduction to the first issue of our newsletter, Syria Notes

Jo Cox and Andrew Mitchell

With the further escalation of fighting in Syria, the deteriorating humanitarian situation, and the worsening refugee crisis, the Friends of Syria APPG aims to offer an inclusive forum for Parliamentarians to further develop their understanding of the current crisis and of UK policy options.

As two MPs from different parties, and from different generations and backgrounds, there is a lot we disagree on. But as two people who have both worked for many years at different ends of the humanitarian aid spectrum—as an aid worker and as secretary of state for international development—we agree that the conflict in Syria is our generation’s test, our responsibility. This is a conflict so horrific that over 12 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, more than half of all Syrians have been forced to flee their homes, and credible sources estimate the death toll at over 330,000. Therefore, in our view, it is time to get Syria off the ‘too difficult to deal with’ pile and to get back to basics, to see the crisis in Syria as primarily about Syria and Syrians. The Friend of Syria APPG will therefore focus on asking how UK policy can best protect civilians. Though we plan to work with the Syria APPG, under the chairmanship of Roger Godsiff, the Friends of Syria APPG will be crisis-focused.

Following the success of our AGM, in which we heard from Kristyan Benedict of Amnesty International, and Elizabeth Quintana of the Royal United Services Institute, we will be active over the coming weeks and months in giving parliamentarians an opportunity to hear from Syrians themselves and from a variety of humanitarian, diplomatic and military experts.

We plan to publish a report in January 2016 examining options for a comprehensive UK approach to Syria. To this end we will run a number of evidence sessions over the coming months. These sessions will be split to cover four key areas: humanitarian, diplomatic, military, and what next for Syria. Our first session will be a ministerial overview of the conflict by Tobias Ellwood MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, at 5pm on Tuesday 17th November in Committee Room 9.

We hope these Notes will provide regular updates for Parliamentarians on the current crisis and on UK policy options.

View the first issue of Syria Notes here.

Website contents


Home Page
About the APPG
Syria Notes
Reports to the APPG
List of Members
Past APPG Events


4 July 2018: Reconstruction in conflict (transcript)

28 March 2018: The non-implementation of Security Council Resolution 2401

6 February 2018: Reconstruction in conflict (event announcement).

6 February 2018: Syria Notes No. 21.

15 January 2018: Syria Notes No. 20.

9 January 2018: Under siege: Humanitarian access in Syria (transcript).

12 December 2017: Syria Notes No. 19.

4 December 2017: Under siege: Humanitarian access in Syria (event announcement).

29 November 2017: Remarks by Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for the Middle East (transcript).

14 November 2017: Syria Notes No. 18.

11 November 2017: Raqqa and beyond: The fight against ISIS and its aftermath (transcript).

24 October 2017: Last Men in Aleppo: What role can the UK play in Syria?

24 October 2017: Syria Notes No. 17.

16 October 2017: Raqqa and Beyond: The true cost of the Coalition’s war against ISIS in Syria.

8 October 2017: Syria Notes No. 16.

27 September 2017: Families For Freedom.

11 September 2017: Syria Notes No. 15 focuses on Idlib.

10 July 2017: AGM notice.

10 March 2017: Syria’s Disappeared.

10 March 2017: Issue No. 14 of Syria Notes.

27 February 2017: Developments and limitations in UK policy since 2011 (report to the APPG).

1 February 2017: Can drones break the sieges?

24 January 2017: Siege Watch: On Syrian communities under siege (event announcement).

13 January 2017: Can JPADS save lives in Syria?

2 January 2017: After Aleppo: Civilian areas targeted by pro regime forces (report to the APPG).

19 December 2016: A peace delegation’s denials, by Ivana Bacik.

19 December 2016: Humanitarian intervention outside the Security Council (report to the APPG).

23 November 2016: Issue No. 11 of our newsletter Syria Notes focuses on Aleppo.

28 October 2016: Screening of The White Helmets.

07 October 2016: AGM notice.

15 September 2016: Remarks by Hamish de Bretton-Gordon (transcript).

25 August 2016: Meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Friends of Syria (event announcement).

13 July 2016: Meeting Syrian human rights activists Mazen Darwish and Yara Bader (event announcement).

16 June 2016: My fearless friend Jo Cox, by Andrew Mitchell.

17 May 2016: Issue No. 10 of Syria Notes.

27 April 2016: Issue No. 9 of Syria Notes.

12 April 2016: Issue No. 8 of Syria Notes.

8 March 2016: Issue No. 7 of Syria Notes.

7 February 2016: Evidence session on military policy (event announcement).

3 February 2016: Issue No. 6 of Syria Notes.

22 January 2016: Evidence session on military policy (event announcement).

20 January 2016: Transcript: Diplomacy evidence session.

19 January 2016: Issue No. 5 of Syria Notes.

6 January 2016: Evidence session on diplomacy (event announcement).

5 January2016: Issue No. 4 of Syria Notes.

21 December 2015: Documentary screening, 7 Days in Syria (event announcement).

7 December 2015 Issue No. 3 of Syria Notes.

3 December 2015: Our diplomacy event has been rescheduled (event announcement).

26 November 2015: Highlights from the first issues of our newsletter.

23 November 2015: Transcript: Humanitarian evidence session.

21 November 2015: The second issue of Syria Notes.

17 November 2015: Evidence session on the humanitarian crisis and UK policy response (event announcement).

9 November 2015: The first issue of Syria Notes.