The UK is clear that Syria needs a political transition leading to a more accountable, inclusive, representative form of governance than the Asad regime. A fundamental element of transition needs to be a commitment to protect Syria's minorities and to promote the role of women in the political process and beyond.
Within the International Syria Support Group and in our close work with the moderate opposition, we promote the inclusion and safeguarding of minorities and women as the political process progresses.
The international community is working with the Syrian opposition High Negotiations Committee. At a launch hosted by the Foreign Secretary, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Boris Johnson) in September, they set out a progressive and compelling vision for political transition in Syria, emphasising among other things their commitment to the protection of all components of Syrian society and to promoting women's rights.
The Government has provided £7 million in direct support to gender related projects in Syria since the start of the crisis. For financial year 2016/17, we are due to spend a further £1.9m. Across the 2016 programme, all projects are gender sensitive, with action being taken to raise awareness of gender equality issues, promote the empowerment of women, and gather evidence and accountability for sexual and gender-based violence.