'Bob Crow' anti-IS fighters slam UK Labour's red rebel

'Bob Crow' anti-IS fighters slam UK Labour's red rebel
Five unknown fighters from 'the Bob Crow Brigade' in Syria have taken time off fighting IS militants to attack Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith with the group's latest graffiti message.
3 min read
27 Aug, 2016
The 'Bob Crow BRigade' stand before their message to Owen Smith [Twitter]
The UK Labour Party's leadership challenger has received stinging criticism from - what appears to be - the frontlines of the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria.

The Bob Crow Brigade - named after a late British trade unionist - challenged Owen Smith's suggestion that IS could be brough "round the table".

It criticised this suggestion as an insult to the "martyrs of Manbij" - a reference to Kurdish and Arab fighters killed fighting the militants.

The armed group appears to be made up of five British fighters, and posted their message to the MP on Twitter. A picture shows the fighters standing against a wall with the message painted on reading:

"@OwenSmith2016 Want to talk to ISIS? Tell that to the martyrs of Manbij. If you fight you won't always win, if you don't fight you will always lose."

Smith - who is challenging left-winger Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership of the UK opposition party - made his controversial remarks during a televised debate on Wednesday when questioned whether Britain should negotiate with the IS group.

Smith said that "ultimately, all solutions to these international crises do come about through dialogue, so eventually if we are to try to solve this all of the actors do need to be involved".

"But at the moment Isil [IS] are clearly not interested in negotiating. At some point for us to resolve this, we will need to get people round the table," he continued.

These words sparked controversy in the UK, however, the condemnation thousands of miles away from the Bob Crow Brigade was unexpected to say the least.

This is not the first time that the frontline fighters have given their two cents on politics in the UK.

Earlier this month, images appeared on social media showing the fighters above another spray-painted message which read:"Victory to the guards! Victory to the RMT!...from one struggle against injustice to the struggle against another."

This was a reference to industrial action taken by the British transport union, which was headed by Crow before his death.

Other images posted by the group on their Twitter account suggest that they may be from among a small number of British Kurds who are fighting as part of the International Freedom Battalion in northern Syria. 

The IFB, which is made up of leftists and anti-Islamists from around the world, fighting alongside the Kurdish YPG against the IS group.

The YPG make up the bulk of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces who are fighting IS in Syria but have been accused by Syrians, human rights groups and activists of human rights abuses and ethnic cleansing Arab villages.