Emily Thornberry cites popularity of Syria’s Assad in interview

Shadow foreign secretary’s remarks could be controversial among opponents of dictator

The Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, has a greater “depth and breadth of support than is recognised in the west”, the shadow foreign secretary has said.

Emily Thornberry’s remarks to the magazine Prospect are likely to be controversial among those who regard Assad as a brutal dictator who has killed tens of thousands of his citizens and driven millions of refugees over the border. Thornberry is likely to argue that she was merely saying a segment of public opinion do not recognise that Assad has greater popular following inside Syria than the opposition forces suggest.

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