'Moderates in Syria? Snowflake’s chance in hell'

Reuters/Omar Sobhani
The chances that democrats or moderates will take the place of the current secular government in Syria are zero- the only powerful forces that can take over are extremist Islamists, Peter Ford, former British Ambassador to Syria, told RT.

RT:The UK government is trying to combat the terror threat at home but judging by your recent articles, you think it needs to do a better job. What's missing, in your opinion?

Peter Ford: Absolutely what we see now - chickens coming how to roost. The Cameron government for three or four years has been calling for the overthrow of the secular Syrian government. It’s hardly surprising if young British Muslims have taken that at face value and gone out there to fight and bring about the overthrow of the Syrian government. But this is a totally wrongheaded policy from the outset of the struggle in Syria. Cameron has got it completely wrong: from the outset he has called for the overthrow of the government, predicted that the overthrow with imminent, got all this completely wrong. Almost took Britain into a bombing war against the Syria. This man is a serial bungler.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron. (Reuters/Toby Melville)

RT:It's estimated that some 500 Britons have gone abroad to fight for ISIL. What's driving them to leave their homes in the UK and join the bloodbath in the Middle East?

PF: There are many factors, not all of which are easy to explain without getting into the minds of these young people. But I think that essentially it is like a cult - they have been brainwashed on social media, YouTube, and other media. They don’t know what they are getting into. And like I say, they were given tacit or implicit encouragement by the British government which these days is still calling for the overthrow of the secular government. Who do they think will take the place of this government if not an extremist Islamist government?

RT:The UK is planning to train, what the West calls, moderate opposition forces in Syria. Is there not a danger that this strategy could backfire as it did before with rebels joining ISIL?

PF: The chances of democrats or moderates in Syria are like the chances of snowflakes in hell- zero. The only powerful forces ranged against the Syrian government are the extremist Islamists, ISIL and the likeminded. As long as the Western governments and some regional allies trying to hamper, and hamstring the Syrian government then I’m afraid this conflict will continue and continue to act as a magnet to young people in Britain and elsewhere.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.