Corbyn has called for caution, urging US President Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May to avoid a “hot war.”
“I think the whole world should be alarmed at that sort of instant reaction… more bombing, more killing, more war will not save life,” Corbyn said.
The Labour leader, a lifelong anti-war activist, has also urged the UK to exercise prudence while the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) investigates the alleged chemical attack in Douma, which reportedly left up to 75 civilians – including women and children – dead.
“The Government appears to be waiting for instructions from President Donald Trump on how to proceed,” Corbyn said. “But the US administration is giving alarmingly contradictory signals.”
“Even US Defense Secretary James Mattis has said we ‘don’t have evidence’ and warned further military action could ‘escalate out of control.’”
On Thursday, Theresa May and her cabinet decided on the “need to take action to alleviate humanitarian distress and to deter the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime.”
MPs from either side of the house, including the opposition leader, have called on May to take a Commons vote on military action in Syria – a call that the UK PM appears to have ignored.
“Ministers should take their proposals, such as they are, to parliament,” Corbyn said.
“And Britain should press for an independent UN-led investigation of last weekend’s horrific chemical weapons attack so that those responsible can be held to account.
“Rather than further military action, what is urgently needed is a coordinated international drive to achieve a ceasefire and a negotiated settlement under UN auspices. The humanitarian priority must be to halt the killing on all sides.
“The need to restart genuine negotiations for peace and an inclusive political settlement of the Syrian conflict, including the withdrawal of all foreign forces, could not be more urgent. We must do everything we can, no matter how challenging, to bring that about.”
Meanwhile, Syria and its ally Russia, which say they were not to blame and that much of the evidence was fabricated, have insisted that international parties wait at least for conclusions from chemical weapons experts. An OPCW team is set to start its investigation in Douma on Saturday.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that the standoff with the US can be resolved just by picking up the phone and talking it through. “It’s 2018, it’s not the middle of the 20th century,” she said, adding that in a time of instant communications there’s no reason “why people who are in charge of our security and international peace can’t talk.”
Moscow has also appealed for a diplomatic way out of the impasse, but three different resolutions that were put forward in the United Nations Security Council this week were vetoed.