International Solidarity with the Liberation Struggle of the Syrian People!
By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 22.05.2019, www.thecommunists.net
The last 24 hours have been marked by a massive and surprising offensive of the Syrian rebels in North West Hama. Their goal is to re-conquer areas which they have lost in recent weeks.
As we did report, Assad’s army (the so-called “Syrian Arab Army”, SAA) with the support of the Russian Air Force, started a major attack on Greater Idlib on 30 April. (1) This region in the north-west of Syria is the last citadel of the glorious popular uprising which began in March 2011. As a result, hundreds civilians have been killed in the past weeks and 200,000 people displaced by a non-stop bombardment of the Russian, Iranian and Assadist air force and artillery. Cynically, these barbaric aggressors are deliberately targeting healthcare centres in the region of which they have already destroyed 18. (2)
However, the Russian/Assadist invasion has met the determined resistance of the Syrian people. Thousands of liberation fighters, deeply embedded in the population, have been mobilized and sent to the front. No doubt, they are fighting under extremely difficult condition. Russian and Assadist bombers and helicopter gunships ensure complete air supremacy. Likewise, the forces of the criminal regime and its imperialist master are highly superior when it comes to the number of tanks and artillery. However, the liberation fighters are far more motivated and dedicated than the demoralized and often conscripted soldiers of Assad’s army. They know that they are fighting against a tyrannical dictatorship and are prepared to give their lives for the defense of their people.
In the first two weeks of their offensive, the SAA succeeded in expelling the resistance fighters from some areas in North West Hama of which the most important towns were Kafr Nabuda, Qalaat al-Madiq and Tal Othman. However, the Assadist offensive, despite full support of the Russian Air Force and despite the use of chemical weapons, has reached an impasse since nearly a week as the liberation forces have successfully built defense lines in the Al-Ghab Plain, the Kabani area in northern Latakia and other areas. As a result, the Russian invaders offered a truce which the rebels rejected. (3)
The rebel forces are dominated by various petty-bourgeois Islamist and nationalist formations. The leading force is Hayat Tahrir al-Sham while the Turkistan Islamic Party and Jaysh al-Izza also play an important in the region where the fighting currently takes place. These forces have been strengthened by the recent initiative of the HTS-dominated Syrian Salvation Government to mobilize new voluntary “popular resistance brigades” (Saraya al Muqawama al Shaabia) to defend the homeland against the barbarous invaders. (4)
On 21 May, the rebels, led by the dauntless HTS shock troops – the most dedicated and disciplined fighters of the so-called Inghimasi and “Red Band” units – even launched a bold counter-offensive. In a surprise attack they successfully attacked Kafr Nabuda. After 12 hours of heavy fighting, they succeeded in expelling the Assadist forces, most of them being part of the notorious so-called “Tiger Forces” which is the elite unit of the SAA. The rebels even managed to capture one of their colonels.
Of course, it would be naïve to believe that this small success represents already a turn-around in the liberation struggle. It can be taken for granted that the Assadist and Russian forces will mobilize all their available forces in order to undo their defeat. They will double their efforts to terrorize the population in the Greater Idlib area. In any case, the recent successes in the defensive fight for the survival of the Syrian Revolution are a heartening sign that the liberation struggle is far from over.
This should be a lesson for all those feeble supporters of the Syrian Revolution who gave up their support in the last years when the cause of the freedom struggle suffered defeats and became less popular in Western media. In contrast, consistent socialists and democrats have continued their partisanship of the Syrian liberation struggle against the Assad tyranny. The RCIT has stated since the beginning of the Revolution eight years ago that revolutionaries must unconditionally support the heroic popular struggle against the Assad dictatorship and Russian imperialism without lending any political support to the leadership of petty-bourgeois Islamist and nationalist formations. (5)
True, the Syrian Revolution faces the hostility and hatred from the Stalinist as well as far right supporters of Assad, from the Putin regime as well as the Trump Administration, from the Western Islamophobic liberals as well as the corrupted Gulf dictatorships in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. (6)
However, such a shameful unholy alliance of imperialist and reactionary forces in East and West must not dishearten the consistent supporters of the Syrian Revolution. Quite the opposite, the RCIT emphasizes once more that it is crucial that defenders of the Syrian liberation struggle join forces, irrespective of their political differences, and build an international solidarity movement!
(1) See RCIT: Syria: Defend Idlib against Assad and Putin! 08 May 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/defend-idlib-against-assad-and-putin/
(2) See on this e.g. Amid lull in air strikes, rebels reinforce NW Syria frontlines, May 18, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-security-northwest/amid-lull-in-air-strikes-rebels-reinforce-nw-syria-frontlines-idUSKCN1SO0DV
(3) Concerning the military developments see e.g. Peter Bucci: BREAKING: Rebel groups capture key town from Syrian Army after intense assault (maps), May 22, 2019, https://syrianwardaily.com/2019/05/22/breaking-rebel-groups-capture-key-town-from-syrian-army-after-intense-assault-maps/; Joško Barić: Syrian War Daily, May 12, 2019, https://syrianwardaily.com/2019/05/12/syrian-war-daily-12th-of-may-2019/; Suleiman Al-Khalidi: Rebels say Syrian army fails to retake Latakia mountain, May 19, 2019 / https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-security-mountain/rebels-say-syrian-army-fails-to-retake-latakia-mountain-idUSKCN1SP0KT; Syrian Army’s attempted advance beaten back by militants at key northeast Latakia town, 2019-05-19 https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/syrian-armys-attempted-advance-beaten-back-by-militants-at-key-northeast-latakia-town/
(4) سرايا المقاومة الشعبية… المحرر مسؤولية الجميع, 22.5.2019, https://ebaa.news/visuals/2019/05/41966/
(5) See on this e.g. 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/; Michael Pröbsting: World Perspectives 2018: A World Pregnant with Wars and Popular Uprisings, February 2018, Chapter V, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/worldperspectives-2018/chapter-v/; 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/
(6) See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: “We Worried that the Assad Regime Might Finally Collapse”. New revelations about the approach of U.S. imperialism to the Assad regime, 15.05.2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/us-official-we-worried-that-the-assad-regime-might-finally-collapse/
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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/