Campaigners opposed to airstrikes in Syria hold vigil in Portsmouth

Smoke rises above the Syrian town of Kobani during fighting between Islamic State and Kurdish forces, seen from a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc, Turkey, near the Turkey-Syria border  (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Smoke rises above the Syrian town of Kobani during fighting between Islamic State and Kurdish forces, seen from a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc, Turkey, near the Turkey-Syria border (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson. Pictute: LPhot Ioan Roberts

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ANTI-WAR campaigners held a candlelight vigil in Portsmouth tonight against the UK launching airstrikes against terrorists in Syria.

Around 50 people went along to the vigil outside Guildhall organised by members of the Stop The War Coalition.

It comes on the eve of a vote by the nation’s political leaders tomorrow which could see the UK joining the bombing campaign against Isil in Syria.

Jon Woods, who is a member of the activist group in the city, said: ‘I am totally opposed to UK bombing Syria.

‘I think bombing will make what is already a terrible situation even worse.’

It comes just hours after MPs across Portsmouth pledged they would back the UK launching airstrikes in Syria against Isil.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt said: ‘The question MPs need to ask is “will the UK and its citizens be safer if we degrade and destroy Isil?”

‘I believe that will be the case and that other nations will be too.

‘This is not the sole answer to solving the Syria crisis, but it is compatible and complimentary to it.

‘As someone who stood on the tarmac of Brize Norton as the coffins of those slaughtered in Tunis were repatriated while their loved ones looked on, I will do everything I can to keep our citizens safe.’

However, the former leader of Portsmouth City Council, Lib-Dem councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackon said: ‘I would be in favour of airstrikes if I felt it was going to achieve what people want it to, and that’s to defeat so-called IS.

‘I’m not convinced it will do that.

‘Just doing a bombing campaign without ground force is not going to make it better.

‘We have been bombing Iraq for months, and America has been bombing Syria, but it doesn’t seem to have an effect.’