Jeremy Corbyn aide: Focus on Russia diverts attention from other Syrian atrocities

Posted On: 
12th October 2016

Focusing on the civilian deaths caused by Russian bombing in Syria "diverts attention from other atrocities" taking place in war-torn country, an aide to Jeremy Corbyn has declared.

The Syrian city of Aleppo has been bombarded by Russian fighters
Credit: 
PA Images

The senior figure, speaking on condition of anonymity, said independent observers had found that the US-led coalition in the country - which includes Britain - had also been responsible for the killing of many innocent people.

He also suggested that anti-war campaigners should protest outside the American embassy as well as the Russian one to voice their anger about the conflict.

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Mr Corbyn has been urged by many of his left-wing supporters to condemn Russia's targeting of rebel-held areas in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, but has so far failed to do so.

In a briefing for journalists after Prime Minister's Questions, his aide said other countries involved in the conflict should also be criticised.

He said: "The focus on Russian atrocities or Syrian army atrocities sometimes diverts attention from other atrocities that are taking place.

"Independent assessments are that there have been very large-scale civilian casualties as a result of the US-led coalition bombing.

"There are several cases of large numbers of civilian deaths in single attacks and there hasn't been so much attention on those atrocities or those casualties.

"Both the US and British governments have been reluctant to accept any independent assessment of what's taking place as a result of those campaigns."

Asked if he was drawing comparisons between the Russian and coalition attacks, the aide said: "I'm not in the business of allocating blame on the whole thing. Russia's intervention in the civil war has been opposed by Jeremy from the start."

Boris Johnson yesterday called on the Stop The War Coalition - which was set up at the time of the Afghanistan invasion in 2001 - to protest outside the Russian Embassy in London.

But Mr Corbyn's aide said: "People are entitled and at complete liberty to demonstrate not only outside the Russian Embassy, but all the other embassies of those participating, intervening powers.

"As Jeremy has said, he has condemned Russian intervention and the Russian bombing and has condemned and opposed the intervention by all outside powers in the Syrian civil war."

The source said Labour wanted to see an end to all fighting in the country, and for a negotiated peace settlement to be agreed.