British Embassy In Syria Quietly Under Construction As UK Concedes Assad To Stay

Syria’s President Assad is fast “coming in from the cold” a recent AFP headline concluded.

This not unlike the history of Libya’s Gaddafi, suddenly going from international pariah status to being courted by the Bush administration starting in 2004, culminating in Condoleezza Rice sharing a late night dinner with the late Libyan dictator during an official visit in September 2008 (though later returning to “pariah” in 2011, leading to a bloody field execution). But for Assad, who’s long long promised to “liberate every inch” of natural Syria now a greater possibility given US plans to pull all troops out of the country likely within months things could be moving faster than anyone expected.

An exclusive report by Middle East news site, Al Masdar, suggests the UK could be the next to reestablish official diplomatic relations with Assad, as the British Embassy in Damascus appears to be undergoing construction after being shuttered for most of the conflict following the suspension of all services in 2012. Could Britain be readying to reopen its embassy in Syria following similar preparations by a spate of Arab nations, most notably the UAE?

Al Masdar News was able to confirm the following by visiting the British embassy location in Damascus:

The British Embassy in Damascus is undergoing construction, despite the fact that it was closed at the start of the Syrian conflict.

According to an Al-Masdar field correspondent who visited the site, the British Embassy in Damascus was indeed under construction, marking the first time since its closure that any work has been done to the building.

Syrian government officials, who would be kept apprised of any impending plans or construction works, declined to comment:

Al-Masdar reached out to the Syrian government about the mysterious construction; however, the official in Damascus declined to comment on the project.

The project reportedly began earlier this week and the construction focused on the front entrance of the building.

Iranian media is also currently circulating reports of renovations underway on the UK’s embassy to Syria, via Fars News:

The Arabic-language Rai al-Youm quoted informed sources as saying that the renovation process of the UK embassy in Damascus has begun on Thursday.

The sources pointed to the presence of an interior renovation team in Damascus, and said that the embassy is preparing for reopening in the near future.

In a relevant development in late December, as Arab states had rushed to resume ties with Damascus, former Britain’s Ambassador to Syria Peter Ford said “Washington is not powerful enough to block restoration of Arab states’ diplomatic relations” with Syria.

Crucially, news of construction on the embassy building comes the same day UK’s Foreign Ministry has announced it’s officially given up on hoped-for regime change in Syria. From the start of the war UK intelligence has been at the forefront, alongside the CIA, of regime change efforts including funding, arming, and training opposition forces in Syria.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt speaks during a press conference at Ministry of Foreign Affair in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. via the AP

According to The Telegraph, citing official statements:

Jeremy Hunt, Foreign Minister, has conceded that President Bashar al-Assad will remain in place for “a while”, reversing Britain’s long-held position to reflect the new reality on the ground in Syria.

“The British long-standing position is that we won’t have lasting peace in Syria with that (Assad-led) regime,” Mr Hunt said. “But regretfully we do think he’s going to be around for a while and that is because of the support that he’s had from Russia.”

The foreign minister further said in a television interview with Sky News, “Russia may think that it’s gained a sphere of influence. What we would say to them is: Yes – and you’ve also gained a responsibility.”

Hunt called on Russia to ensure no chemical weapons are used, something the West has long accused Assad of: “If you’re going to be involved in Syria then you need to make sure that there really is peace in Syria,” Hunt said. “And that means making sure that President Assad does not use chemical weapons on his own people.”

Thus it appears Assad’s “normalization” with both Arab and increasingly even Western countries who were a short time ago enemies is moving fast.

The UAE Embassy in Damascus reopened last Thursday, Dec. 27. via Syrian Digital Media

First, a week ago the embassy of the United Arab Emirates was formally re-opened in a ceremony in Damascus – the first time a Gulf country re-established official relations with the Assad government since all GCC states first shuttered their embassies there in 2012. And more significant, following this Gulf nations are now reportedly leading efforts to readmit Syria into the Arab League after the organization expelled Damascus eight years ago when the conflict first began.

Should the British embassy in Damascus indeed announce that it will open in the coming months, this will mark the beginning of Assad’s acceptance once again by the West, and would further likely green light a Syrian and Russian attack on Idlib which is the last large al-Qaeda bastion in the country.



Vladimir Putin threatens to BAN British media from Russia if RT loses UK licence over spy poison plot

Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry, was quoted by the state-run RIA news agency as saying: “Not a single British media outlet will work in our country if they shut down Russia Today (RT)”.

It is unclear whether the threat to ban British media will extend to World Cup coverage on television, radio and newspapers.

Meanwhile in a blunt warning to Prime Minister Theresa May’s government, Zakharova also said nobody should threaten a nuclear power, alluding to Russia.

Mrs May has said Moscow may have been behind the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury and has said it is ready to take tough action against Moscow.


British judge to decide next month on Assange’s bid for possible freedom

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for over five years because he fears extradition to the United States, will learn next month if he has succeeded in having a warrant for his arrest dropped.

Assange, 46, fled to the embassy in the wealthy Knightsbridge district of the British capital in 2012 after skipping bail to avoid being sent to Sweden to face an allegation of rape, which he denied.

The Australian-born Assange had feared Sweden would hand him over to the United States to face prosecution over WikiLeaks’ publication of a large trove of classified military and diplomatic documents – one of the largest information leaks in U.S. history.


Brit teen hacker posed as CIA boss to access secret military files – and sent lewd rape threats to Homeland Security chief

A BRIT teen hacker posed as a CIA boss to access secret military files – and sent lewd rape threats to a Homeland Security chief, a court has heard.

Kane Gamble, 18, hacked into intelligence head John Brennan’s email account, made hoax calls to his family home and even took control of his wife’s iPad, judges were told.