The shadow overseas secretary stated Mr Assad, who has presided over a civil battle which has killed greater than 450,000 individuals and displaced 11 million, is probably not “as overwhelmingly unpopular because the rebels advised the West”.
The Assad regime, which has been backed by Russia since 2015, has repeatedly been accused of utilizing chemical weapons.
In an interview with the magazine Prospect, Ms Thornberry stated: “There’s an argument that if [President Assad] had been as overwhelmingly unpopular because the rebels advised the West on the outset, then he wouldn’t be there.
“I feel there was a depth and a breadth of help for Assad that has been underestimated.”
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Elsewhere within the interview, Ms Thornberry stated overseas forces, together with Britain, which has struck Isis targets in addition to the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons amenities, want to depart the nation.
“They don’t seem to be preventing for the sake of the Syrian individuals,” she stated.
She additionally prompt the UK ought to again peace talks overseen by Russia in Sochi. “I feel we ought to be working with no matter works, for the sake of the Syrian children. None of that is revolutionary,” she stated.
Ms Thornberry refused to denounce Russia for vetoing 11 UN Safety Council resolutions, saying: “Individuals will at all times block resolutions. In the event you take a look at the variety of resolutions America has blocked, I imply that’s the way in which of politics.”
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Her feedback drew the ire of Kristyan Benedict, the UK campaigns supervisor for Amnesty International.
“Perhaps @EmilyThornberry believes elections in Syria are ‘free & truthful’ and believes the ludicrous numbers Assad will get,” he tweeted.
“Perhaps she ought to discuss to Syrian human rights activists who’ve needed to escape Syria as a result of they dared to name for real elections & democracy.”
In a later tweet, he stated: “In Assad’s jail state, it’s a case of ‘love me or I’ll kill you’.”