The mood is changing around Western intervention in Syria, Boris Johnson says

The Foreign Secretary said nothing was off the table

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The “mood is certainly changing” towards the West intervening in the Syrian civil war, the Foreign Secretary has said.

Boris Johnson told the House of Commons that that nothing was “off the table” in terms of the response to bombing and the humanitarian catastrophe in Aleppo.

He however reiterated that he believed there was not currently “sufficient appetite” among Western allies for such a move, which could risk a shooting war with Russia.

The former Mayor of London previously said a no-fly zone or no-bombing zone over Aleppo would be “extremely difficult”. He told MPs last week that MPs could not back such a move without resolving to 

Russian warplanes are currently operating in the area and any breach of the zone could result in a shooting war between Russia and the Western allies. 

Speaking during Foreign Office question-time, Labour's Alison McGovern told Mr Johnson: ‘Not just the Syrian opposition, but Syrian civil society and also NGOs in this country are calling for our Government to lead on a comprehensive strategy to protect civilians - including a no-bombing zone.

“Can I ask you to confirm that that is what our Government will take the lead in considering now?"

Mr Johnson replied to the co-chair of the all-parliamentary party group on Syria: “I'm grateful to you and again I pay tribute to the forcefulness with which you have advocated this cause.

“I wish, I must say, three years ago the Opposition had then been as resolute in wishing to see that kind of engagement to protect the people of Syria because a critical decision was taken then which has... made it much more difficult for us today.

“I want to see the will of this House of Commons clearly expressed in support of what you have said."

Earlier, Labour MP John Woodcock told Mr Johnson: “In response to this and other atrocities, last week in the Commons you said that more kinetic options should be considered but then only yesterday - or the day before - emerging from your talks you said there was little interest, to say the least.

“Please reassure the House that the UK will play its full role in urging other nations that this may be the only way to make Russia back down."

Mr Johnson replied: “I think the mood is certainly changing in this country.

“I do not yet detect a sufficient appetite in the capitals of the West and certainly not yet in the White House for the kind of action I think could be useful.

“But as [US Secretary of State John Kerry] said, nothing is off the table.”

The Battle of Aleppo, in Syria’s largest city, has been raging since 2012. Tens of thousands of believe are believed to have been killed, millions displaced, and the city lies in ruins.

Additional reporting by PA

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