Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'condoning Assad's genocide'

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'condoning Assad's genocide'
Protesters heckled the UK Labour Party leader for failing to unequivocally condemn the Syrian regime and Russia for their attack on civilians
2 min read
09 Oct, 2016
Campaigners condemn Corbyn for failing to speak out against the Syrian regime
UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn's failure to unequivocally condemn Assad for his continued carpet-bombing of Syria has made him "complicit" in the slaughter of thousands of civilians, say campaigners.

The famously pacifist politician was heckled by protesters in London on Saturday who told him he "had blood on his hands".

At a conference of UK organisation Stop the War Coalition, which strongly opposes any Western military intervention, and which Corbyn used to chair, activist Oz Katerji launched a tirade at the embattled MP for his failure to call for regime change in Syria.

"The blood is on your hands too," yelled Katerji, 29, "When will you call for Assad to step down?"

Stop the War and Corbyn supporters tried to drown out Katerji and fellow protesters with chants of "No more war".

But the activist's outburst is set to pile pressure on Corbyn to speak out on Assad's war crimes.

In a statement after the incident, Katerji said: "The silence of British political parties towards this is tantamount to complicity in Assad's genocide.

"Jeremy Corbyn has been at the forefront of this appeasement policy."

Coinciding with the protest, an open letter to Corbyn, signed by members of the Labour Party, activists and socialists, also expressed "concern" over what they say is his inaction.

It urged him to say "clearly and unequivocally" that Assad and Russia's actions in Syria were war crimes.

It also alludes to his links with the Stop the War Coalition, which Labour Party members had previously warned him to distance himself from.

"We know only too well that there are those in the anti-war movement who will denounce any move critical of Russia, Iran, or Assad as tantamount to support for Western imperialist intervention," the letter said.

It added: "We appreciate your concern not to lend support to right-wing calls for fruitless bombing campaigns. But in the face of the horrors being perpetrated across Syria, with impunity, and above all by Russian and Assad-regime forces, we believe socialists and anti-war activists cannot simply look on in silence."

Corbyn opposed the government's decision to launch military action against the Islamic State group in Syria, and voted against it in the Commons in December 2015.

He has called for a political solution to the bitter five-year conflict with the establishment of a unity government.