Britain would be prepared to allow Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, to be given safe passage to a third country, it has emerged, as fears rise that a prolonged conflict will fuel extremism.
In remarks released as David Cameron arrived in Saudi Arabia – a country that is a strong supporter of the Syrian opposition – the prime minister said he would agree to “anything” to see Assad removed from power.
Britain is usually wary of allowing leaders accused of war crimes to be granted a safe haven on the grounds that they should face international justice. But Cameron, who indicated that Britain would not facilitate Assad’s passage out of Syria, said he was determined to see Assad removed. There are fears that extremism will flourish if the conflict continues.
Asked on al-Arabiya television what he would say if Assad demanded safe passage, the prime minister said: “Done. Anything, anything to get that man out of the country and to have a safe transition in Syria.