reuters plus some local bollocks

Boris Johnson’s Syria war crime claims ‘Russophobic hysteria’, says Moscow
Patrick Wintour, Guardian, Oct 11 2016

Accusations by British foreign secretary Boris Johnson of a Russian attack on an aid convoy in Syria are “Russophobic hysteria,” the Russian defence ministry has said. Spox Maj-Gen I Konashenkov said in a statement:

There were no Russian planes in the area of the aid convoy to Aleppo. That is a fact.

Johnson said on Tuesday there was evidence showing Russia was responsible for the attack. Making his front bench debut as foreign secretary in a Commons debate, Johnson said Russia should be investigated for war crimes in Aleppo, and took the unusual step of calling for demonstrations by anti-war protesters outside the Russian embassy in London. Johnson said “the mills of justice grind slowly, but they grind small” as he predicted those responsible for war crimes in Syria would eventually face charges before the International Criminal Court. Johnson’s remarks underline the degree to which relations between Russia and the West have deteriorated to levels not seen since the end of the Cold War. Johnson appeared to reject calls for a no-fly zone over areas of Syria, saying:

We cannot commit to a no-fly zone unless we are prepared to confront and perhaps shoot down planes or helicopters that violate that zone. We need to think very carefully about the consequences.

But he added that he was sympathetic to those who made the call, and wanted to work through the options with Britain’s allies. The Foreign Office is known to be preparing for a more assertive Syrian policy if Hillary Clinton becomes POTUS in January, but senior UN figures have warned that eastern Aleppo is likely to have fallen by then. Johnson called for demonstrations outside the Russian embassy in London and asked why left-wing protest groups seemed to lack the outrage over Russian conduct in Syria, saying:

I would certainly like to see demonstrations outside the Russian embassy. Where is the Stop the War coalition? Pindostan has done its utmost to work with the Russian foreign ministry to bring about a ceasefire (and it) has concluded rightly that Russia is determined to help Assad’s onslaught, regardless of any agreement. If Russia continues on its current path, I believe that this great country is in danger of becoming a pariah nation, and if President Putin’s strategy is to restore the greatness and the glory of Russia, then I believe he risks his ambition turning to ashes in the face of international contempt for what is happening in Syria.

A post on the Russian embassy’s Twitter feed said:

The press secretary at the Russian embassy said in a statement later:

The Jihadis keep terrorising the civilians and fighting, rejecting ceasefire and humanitarian aid deliveries. Britain’s logic implies putting an end to fighting terrorists and their allies. Our logic is different. Fight on to destroy the Jihadis, sparing the civilians.

In a debate that revealed the deep foreign policy fissure in the Labour party, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberr, called for the UK to back the escorting of Jihadis out of eastern Aleppo, as had happened in Homs. She said a ceasefire could be implemented afterwards if the proposal, put forward by UN envoy de Mistura (and supported by Russia – RB), was carried out. A briefing paper issued by the Labour Party to MPs referred to the possibility that Russia had committed war crimes but only if the targeting of civilians was deliberate. Thornberry said statesmanship not brinkmanship was required, and that Russia and Pindostan were one wrong decision away from a world war. Johnson rejected her support for the Jihadi proposal, saying a ceasefire had to precede the removal of Nusra.

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