Syria: US as much a target for protests as Russia – Labour


The US should be as much a aim for protests against the violence in Syria as Russia, a spokesman for Labour chairperson Jeremy Corbyn has suggested.

He told journalists that a number of unrelated powers, including the UK, were involved in the brutal conflict and Russia should not be singled out.

While doom dooming Russian “atrocities”, he said civilians had also been killed by the US-led coalition’s bombings.

One Toil MP said the comments were “unworthy of the rty”.

The row came as Russia responded angrily to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s call for protests home its UK embassy.

In a Commons debate on Tuesday, Mr Johnson said the evidence sharp to Russia being behind a fatal attack on an aid convoy in Aleppo and apostrophized for the International Criminal Court to investigate this and other possible war misdemeanours.

He questioned why the Stop The War coalition – of which Mr Corbyn is a long-time supporter – and other anti-war organizations were not making their feelings known outside the Russian embassy in London, im rting Russia risked becoming an international riah if it continued with its military struggle in support of President Assad.

Responding to Mr Johnson’s comments, a Labour spokesman im rted talks aimed at securing a lasting ceasefire and political settlement in Syria were preferable to illustrations.

Asked whether Mr Corbyn backed demonstrations against Russia, he added: “Simply, people are entitled and at complete liberty to demonstrate outside not only the Russian embassy, but all the other embassies of those interrupting powers.

“People are free to protest outside the intervening powers’ embassies and there are a host of them – not just the US and Russia.

“There are multiple foreign interventions in the Syrian domestic war and we’ve emphasised that there needs to be an end to that and those powers desperate straits to be rt of a negotiated settlement, which is the only way to stop the conflict.”

‘Deflecting attention’

Asked whether he was suggesting a moral equivalence between US and UK forces against so-called Islamic State and Moscow’s support for the Assad rule, the spokesman said he was not “in the business of allocating blame”.

But he added: “The focus on Russian savageries or Syrian army atrocities – which is absolutely correct – sometimes shifts attention from other atrocities that are taking place.

“Ignoring assessments are that there have been very large-scale civilian fatalities as a result of the US-led coalition bombing.

“There are several cases of muscular numbers of civilian deaths in single attacks, and there hasn’t been so much notoriety on those atrocities or those casualties.”

Mr Corbyn, he added, had opposed Russian intervention in the five-year altercation from the start – as he had the UK’s extension of bombing raids from Iraq to Syria last year.

“The intervention of strange powers in the conflict has no doubt escalated and fuelled it throughout,” he added.

‘Unsuitable for’

Downing Street dismissed any com rison between Russian bombing and UK military g-men in Syria, saying its strategy was based on minimising civilian casualties.

“We are go well towards peace, towards finding a solution and towards alleviating the humanitarian torment of the Syrian people,” a No 10 spokeswoman said.

“I think very absolutely by the fact we were sponsoring a UN Security Council resolution that upbraids for the end of the bombardment of the people of Aleppo and Russia vetoed that resolution, that’s perfectly a contrast in positions.”

Labour MP John Woodcock, a long-term critic of Mr Corbyn, refused suggestions that the US was as cul ble as Russia for attacks on Syrian civilians and the practical destruction of Aleppo, once the country’s largest city.

“This incongruity seems like a deliberate provocation, unworthy of our leader and our rty,” he conjectured.

And Brendan Cox, whose wife, Labour MP Jo Cox, was co-chair of the rliamentary Friends of Syria previous she was killed in June, said the comment was “absolutely disgraceful”.

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