Brighton MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle discussed freedom of the press and the continuing fight against Isis during a trip to Syria this month.
The Labour MP made the trip to the Autonomous Region of Northeast Syria in his capacity as chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Kurdistan in Turkey and Syria.
His office declined to disclose who financed the trip, saying it would be included in his register of interests “by the usual timeframes”. A similar trip he made in 2020 was paid for by the Unite union, which donated £3,212 towards it.
Yesterday, he posted pictures of the trip on Facebook.
He said: “Last week, in my capacity as the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Kurdistan in Turkey and Syria, I travelled with Conservative MP Matthew Offord and other cross-party staff to Kurdistan in Iraq and the Autonomous Region of Northeast Syria.
“Our Kurdish allies in the region answered the call to defeat Isis and are still keeping us safe from them.
“We met with cabinet members and other leading politicians of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq, as well as with journalists to talk about freedom of the press.
“While in the Northeastern Syrian region, I heard of the 20,000 foreign fighters from over 50 countries who are currently in detention, including ISIS fighters from Britain.
“The authorities requested an International Criminal Court to be established to bring due process and justice to a region and a conflict the world seems to be increasingly forgetting.
“Not only did they defeat Isis, but they have also set about establishing a system of government that is democratic, multiethnic, and multireligious. They have also created a deeply feminist society with female co-chairs in all parts of the government.
“However, there are challenges that they face in making this a reality and bringing everyone on board.
“While we were there, we heard of the increasing hostility of Turkey, with a drone strike killing a civilian. The earthquake had not had as large an effect on northeast Syria as it has in the west of the country, but we heard from leaders about aid being blocked by the Turkish and Syrian governments from sending aid convoys to the west.
“The region is a beautiful one, with courageous people who stood as our allies in the fight against Isis. I am proud to call them my friends and will continue to raise their plight in parliament.
“It was the West that drew borders in the country a hundred years ago, it was us who intervened in Iraq 20 years ago, supporting the Kurds at the time, and it was us who asked the Kurds to defeat Isis, with our military still having joint activities with them.
“We now have an obligation to help them build a safe, stable, and peaceful part of the world.”