Mass demonstrations demand continuation of the struggle against the Assad tyranny as the counterrevolutionary forces prepare for a frontal assault on Idlib
By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 08.09.2018, www.thecommunists.net
At the latest meeting between Putin, Rouhani and Erdoğan in Teheran on 7 September, the Turkish President proposed again a plan aiming for the disarming and expulsion of the rebels from Idlib. Idlib is the last remaining free enclave of the Syrian Revolution If this plan would be implemented it would mean the effective liquidation of the resistance against the Assad tyranny and, hence, the end of the heroic Syrian Revolution which began in March 2011.
According to the Turkish pro-government newspaper Daily Sabah, Erdoğan made the following proposal at the latest summit of Russia, Iran and Turkey as part of the so-called Astana process.
“Ankara has drawn up a plan to offer armed rebel groups safe passage out of the Syrian province of Idlib in a bid to avert the bloodshed of a major assault by Damascus, a pro-government newspaper reported on Friday. As the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran meet in Tehran on Friday to try and find a solution to the seven-year Syrian conflict, Ankara - which is wary about an attempt by Bashar al-Assad's forces to retake the last rebel bastion of Idlib - has drawn up a plan to avert an assault, Turkey's Daily Sabah reported.
According to the plan, 12 armed groups - including Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Idlib - would lay down their arms and be evacuated from the province, the newspaper said, without revealing its sources. The groups would be offered safe passage to a buffer zone, under the surveillance of so-called moderate rebels on condition they hand over weapons to a loose coalition of groups backed by Ankara, it continued. Foreign fighters in the group would be allowed to return to their home countries if they wish, Sabah said. But the groups who refused to disarm and be evacuated would be targeted by the counter-terror operations.
As in other regions taken by Ankara-backed rebels, Turkey will later train a rebel force to ensure Idlib's security. The plan will also secure the Russian Hmeimim military base in Latakia province and mineral deposits in the region, it said. Turkey, which has already listed al-Nusra and al-Qaeda as terror groups, added HTS to the list last month.” (1)
This proposal effectively means disarming and expulsion of the most determined forces which have until now resisted the Assad tyranny and which reject the reactionary Astana process which aims for the liquidation of the Syrian Revolution. (2) These forces include various petty-bourgeois Islamist organizations, among them as the strongest and most significant movement Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), as well as the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) and others. (3)
Erdoğan’s offer to “my dear brother, Hassan Rouhani, and my dear friend, Vladimir Putin” (4) to disarm the rebels seem not to have resulted in any cancellation of Assad’s plans to launch his murderous attack on Idlib. (5) “On paper, the leaders reiterated pledges to seek a negotiated solution to Syria’s seven-year conflict, to preserve the country’s territorial unity, to eliminate al-Qaeda-linked terrorists and to assure the safe return of millions of displaced Syrians. But a regime attack on Idlib will likely move ahead despite Turkey’s appeals for more time to use carrot-and-stick diplomacy with the jihadis. Even as the leaders assembled in Tehran, Syrian fighter jets pounded militant targets in the province, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group.” (6)
However, Erdoğan’s offer demonstrates once more the reactionary character of his regime. It shows again how misplaced any illusions are that Ankara would be friend of the oppressed people in Syria.
All these attempts to disarm and liquidate those forces which are determined to continue the liberation struggle against the Assad tyranny, take place amid the most threatening gathering of all counterrevolutionary forces. Massive numbers of Assadist, Russian and Iranian troops are assembling their forces in order to launch a massive attack on Idlib – the last citadel of the Syrian Revolution. (7) While the two imperialist Great Powers, U.S. and Russia, are rivaling for domination in the Middle East, they agree about their joint desire to liquidate the Syrian Revolution and to smash the most determined forces willing to continue the struggle against the regime. (8)
Despite the premature threnody of the defeatist merchants of doom, the Syrian Revolution is not dead. Tens of thousands of people marched on Friday 7 September in Idlib, Khan Sheikhun, Ariha, al-Atarab, al-Bab, Ma'arat al-Nu'man, Mare' and many other places. Under the slogan "Our choice is to resist", the masses called for the overthrow of the Assad regime, for rejecting any “reconciliation deal” and for the expulsion of the Russian and Iranian aggressors. (9)
In these decisive hours it is of utmost importance that the supporters of the Syrian Revolution rally their forces. The Syrian people fighting for freedom are threatened from all sides. Assad, Putin and Rouhani are preparing their killing machine for a frontal assault on Idlib. The Kurdish YPG, which is hailed by most of the so-called left as “revolutionary”, looks to join the Assad regime in smashing the Syrian Revolution. For years it has served U.S. imperialism as proxies in the North and East of Syria. Now it looks for another deal with the Assad tyranny. (10)
U.S. and European imperialism as well as the reactionary United Nations in the person of its special envoy De Mistura basically agree on the plan to “wipe out the terrorists in Idlib”. (11) Washington and Brussels only wage secondary criticism on Assad and Putin (like e.g. not to use again chemical weapons) as they want to limit the regional influence of their Russian rival. (12) At the same the Turkish Regime advocates stabbing the liberation fighters in the back!
As usual, most parts of the international reformist and centrist left fail to stand on the side of the Syrian workers and peasants fighting for freedom. Instead, most Stalinists, left social democrats and centrists either support the counterrevolutionary Assad regime and its Russian imperialist backers or they stand aside and take a neutral position in face of the ongoing against the Syrian people. (13)
The RCIT calls the workers and popular mass organizations around the world to rally in support of the Syrian people! Defend Idlib! Oppose any sellout and any “reconciliation deal”! Denounce the interference and aggression of all imperialist Great Powers in Syria! (14) For the immediate withdrawal of the Russian and U.S. troops as well as those of Iran and Turkey! All foreign military bases in Syria must be dissolved! Defend Idlib, the last citadel of the Syrian Revolution, against the impending annihilation by the barbaric counter-revolution!
* Defend Idlib! Defeat the Assadist, Russian and Iranian forces!
* Oppose any sellout and any “reconciliation deal”!
* Russian, Iranian, U.S. and Turkish troops – out of Syria!
* Down with the counter-revolutionary Astana Negotiations!
* For a single Intifada from Idlib to Jerusalem, Basra, Cairo and Teheran!
* For a Workers and Poor Peasants Government!
* Build a Revolutionary Workers Party – nationally and internationally!
(1) Turkey proposing to evacuate Syrian rebels from Idlib, says report, 7 September 2018 https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/turkey-proposes-rebel-evacuation-idlib-report-1496905190; see also Turkey proposes emergency plan to avert Idlib bloodshed, 7 September, 2018 https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2018/9/7/turkey-proposes-emergency-plan-to-avert-idlib-bloodshed
(2) We have published many articles and statements on the reactionary Astana process which are collected in a special section of our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/collection-of-articles-on-the-syrian-revolution/. In particular we refer to Michael Pröbsting: Is the Syrian Revolution at its End? Is Third Camp Abstentionism Justified? An essay on the organs of popular power in the liberated area of Syria, on the character of the different sectors of the Syrian rebels, and on the failure of those leftists who deserted the Syrian Revolution, 5 April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/syrian-revolution-not-dead/ and chapter V of Michael Pröbsting: World Perspectives 2018: A World Pregnant with Wars and Popular Uprisings, February 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/worldperspectives-2018/chapter-v/
(3) See on this e.g. RCIT: Denounce the US terror listing of Syria’s Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham! The Trump Administration delivers another blow to the Syrian Revolution. Continue the Solidarity with the liberation struggle of the Syrian people! 03.06.2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/denounce-the-us-terror-listing-of-syria-s-hts/
(4) Quoted in Daily Sabah: Erdoğan reiterates need for diplomatic solution to Idlib, says Turkey won’t stay idly, 2018-09-08 https://www.dailysabah.com/syrian-crisis/2018/09/08/erdogan-reiterates-need-for-diplomatic-solution-to-idlib-says-turkey-wont-stay-idly
(5) See e.g. Erin Cunningham: Putin rejects calls for truce in Idlib as Syria readies assault on rebel stronghold, September 7 2018 https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/leaders-of-russia-turkey-and-iran-meet-for-high-stakes-syria-talks/2018/09/07/e66a70c8-b11b-11e8-8b53-50116768e499_story.html?utm_term=.16a2817bb888, Al Jazeera: Idlib: Turkey's ceasefire call rejected by Russia, Iran, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/09/erdogan-calls-idlib-ceasefire-tehran-summit-180907122805420.html; Putin, Erdogan and Rouhani fail to agree on Idlib ceasefire, 7 September 2018 https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/putin-says-assad-has-right-take-back-idlib-erdogan-calls-ceasefire-648726014; Russia, Turkey, Iran discussed 'phased stabilisation' in Syria's Idlib: Putin, 7 September, 2018 https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2018/9/7/russia-turkey-iran-discussed-phased-stabilisation-in-syrias-idlib
(6) Amberin Zaman: Turkey's Erdogan gets no love from Russia on Idlib, September 7, 2018 https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/09/iran-turkey-syria-summit-idlib-offensive.html
(7) Michael Pröbsting: Syria: Towards the Final Battle in Idlib. Assad, Russia, Iran and Turkey prepare for the final onslaught on the last Citadel of the Syrian Revolution, 04.08.2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/syria-towards-the-final-battle-in-idlib/
(8) See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: High-Ranking U.S. Delegation Meets Assad’s Security Chief. How Big Gangsters and Small Gangsters Negotiate to Get a Deal, 30.08.2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/high-ranking-u-s-delegation-meets-assad-s-security-chief/; Michael Pröbsting: U.S. Imperialism Wants to “Re-Engage” with the Assad Tyranny, Comment on an Article by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter published in the New York Times, 28.08.2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/u-s-imperialism-wants-to-re-engage-with-the-assad-tyranny/; Michael Pröbsting: 63,000 Troops. Russian Imperialist Forces back up the Reactionary Assad Regime in Syria, 27.08.2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/63-000-russian-troops-in-syria/
(9) See on this e.g. Nedaa Syria: Evidence and gains of the return of demonstrations demanding the overthrow of Assad to the north of Syria, 7 Sep, 2018 http://nedaa-sy.com/en/week_issues/50, Ebaa News, https://ebaa.news/visuals/vid-doc/2018/09/13310/, https://ebaa.news/visuals/vid-doc/2018/09/13278/,
(10) See e.g. Martin Chulov and Mohammed Rasool: Aggrieved Kurdish fighters quietly join Syrian regime side in battle for Idlib, 7 Sep 2018 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/07/kurds-renew-their-claim-for-idlib-as-final-battle-draws-near; On the negotiations between the Assad regime and the Kurdish YPG/SDF see e.g. Syria's Kurds cautiously progress in talks with Damascus, August 6, 2018 https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/08/turkey-syria-damascus-dialogue-kurdish-perspective.html; Helbast Shekhani: Kurdish leader reveals details of first meeting with Syrian government , July 30-2018, http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/54d92d6a-2f82-457f-a8da-5b5b579ef70c; Kurdish-led SDF visits Damascus for second round of talks, 14 August, 2018 https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2018/8/14/kurdish-led-sdf-visits-damascus-for-second-round-of-talks Syrian Kurds say plotting path to decentralisation with Assad government, MEE and agencies 28 July 2018 http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/syrian-kurdish-group-says-it-and-government-form-committees-end-violence-1801170266; Syrian Kurds say they will 'chart roadmap to decentralized Syria' with Damascus, Reuters Staff July 28, 2018 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-kurds/syrian-kurds-say-they-will-chart-roadmap-to-decentralized-syria-with-damascus-idUSKBN1KI05I; Wary of U.S. ally, Syrian Kurds look to Damascus for talks, Ellen Francis July 25, 2018 / https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-kurds/wary-of-u-s-ally-syrian-kurds-look-to-damascus-for-talks-idUSKBN1KF2NN; Syrian Kurdish-backed council holds talks in Damascus, July 27, 2018 / https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-talks/syrian-kurdish-backed-council-holds-talks-in-damascus-idUSKBN1KH0Q9; Why Syria's Kurds are inclined to negotiate with Damascus, July 26, 2018 https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/07/syria-regime-kurds-north-east-negotiations.html; On the role of the Kurdish YPG/SDF as a U.S. proxy see e.g. RCIT: “We have 50,000 partners on the ground.”, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/revelations-of-u-s-general-on-washington-s-allies-in-syria/
(11) See on this e.g. UN says 10,000 'terrorists' in Syria's Idlib must be defeated, 30 August 2018 https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/un-fears-chemical-weapons-use-syrias-idlib-battle-looms-1956844908
(12) See e.g. “Like Turkey, the United States is formally opposed to a regime assault on Idlib and Kurdish participation in it. But as Sam Heller, a senior analyst on non-state armed actors at the International Crisis Group, noted, “Despite US official rhetoric, the United States still only seems to have drawn a line at the use of chemical weapons, which — it's clear — would prompt US military action.” However, Heller added in emailed comments to Al-Monitor, “with the exception of a few stray statements, it seems not to be promising any military intervention to halt an offensive.” This suggests Turkey is increasingly isolated as it weighs its next move in Syria.” (Amberin Zaman: Turkey's Erdogan gets no love from Russia on Idlib, September 7, 2018 https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/09/iran-turkey-syria-summit-idlib-offensive.html)
(13) See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Syria and Great Power Rivalry: The Failure of the „Left“. The bleeding Syrian Revolution and the recent Escalation of Inter-Imperialist Rivalry between the US and Russia – A Marxist Critique of Social Democracy, Stalinism and Centrism, 21 April 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/syria-great-power-rivalry-and-the-failure-of-the-left/
(14) See e.g. Warmongering in the Middle East: Down with all Imperialist Great Powers and Capitalist Dictatorships! Joint Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), Alkebulan School of Black Studies (Kenya), Pacesetters Movement (Nigeria), Pan-Afrikan Consciousness Renaissance (Nigeria), Marxist Group ‘Class Politics’ (Russia), and Sınıf Savaşı (Turkey), 13 May 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/joint-statement-warmongering-in-the-middle-east/; Chapter V of Michael Pröbsting: World Perspectives 2018: A World Pregnant with Wars and Popular Uprisings, February 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/worldperspectives-2018/chapter-v/
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The RCIT has published a number of booklets, statements and articles on the Syrian Revolution which can be read on a special sub-section on this website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/collection-of-articles-on-the-syrian-revolution/.