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Tim Farron urges caution over decision to bomb targets in Syria

Published 22/09/2015

Tim Farron expressed doubts about the wisdom of attacking targets in Syria
Tim Farron expressed doubts about the wisdom of attacking targets in Syria

David Cameron's push to bomb Islamic State targets in Syria is motivated by a desire to make life difficult for Labour, shows a lack of understanding and could do more harm than good, Tim Farron has claimed.

The Liberal Democrat leader claimed that the Prime Minister was "talking up" the prospect of sending the RAF to launch strikes in Syria in order to put Labour's Jeremy Corbyn under pressure.

Asked whether he would support an extension of the air campaign against IS - also known as Isis - Mr Farron said the West had to be "very cautious".

He told ITV News: "It depends on what basis it is. My sense is that if it is in relation to the Isis territory in Syria it is more likely to do more harm than good.

"To understand Isis properly, and I really worry that David Cameron doesn't or chooses not to, is to understand that while 97% of those murdered by Isis are Muslims, they project an image of this being a battle between Islam and the West.

"The one way to fuel Isis is for the West to be seen to attack them, so we must be very cautious.

"I'm not a pacifist - I was very proud of Paddy Ashdown when he led us in calling for action in Kosovo just as I was proud of Charles Kennedy who led us against the Iraq War.

"My job is to make sure that our approach is wise, just and in accordance with international law."

He continued: "I am not somebody who rules out all military action.

"But my sense is that an awful lot of this is being talked up by David Cameron to try and put the new Labour leadership in a difficult position when, actually, we shouldn't be talking up the politics of this we should be considering the needs of desperate people fleeing from these places and open our gates to them."

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