David Burrowes asks for an update on military action in Syria and calls on the Government to ratify the Hague convention to protect cultural heritage in armed conflict.
Mr David Burrowes (Enfield, Southgate) (Con): Following last week’s vote, can my right hon. Friend give us an update on action against the genocidal jihadists who not only attack Christians, Yazidis and Muslims, but pillage their churches, shrines and mosques? I welcome the announcement of £30 million to protect cultural heritage, but can we also ratify the Hague convention sooner rather than later?
Mr Osborne: I thank my hon. Friend for raising this important issue. Let me briefly update the House on the military action that has taken place since we met last week. We have 16 aircraft conducting strikes, as well as our Reaper drones. The Royal Air Force has flown 11 missions and conducted four strikes, principally against the oilfields, and we are also supporting Iraqi security forces. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary will be in New York next week for talks on trying to bring an end to the horrendous conflict in Syria. As for the damage that is being done to the cultural artefacts in the area, we are providing £30 million as part of the cultural fund—I have discussed that with the director of the British Museum—and as for the Hague convention, that process is now moving apace.
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