Syria: Is the Reactionary Sochi Deal Collapsing?


Defend Greater Idlib against All Attacks from Outside! International Solidarity with the ongoing Liberation Struggle of the Syrian People against the Assad Regime and its Imperialist Masters!


Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 9 January 2019,




1.             The latest developments in Idlib in north-west Syria could result in a collapse of the reactionary Sochi Deal. This deal was struck on 17 September 2018 at a meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan and received the blessing of the Assad tyranny, the regime in Iran as well as of Western Great Powers. According to this deal (which is part of the treacherous Astana process under the control of Russia, Turkey and Iran), a large so-called demilitarized zone with a depth of 15-20 km should have been implemented within the liberated areas of Great Idlib. This zone would have represented about half of the total liberated areas in this region! All heavy weapons and all “extremist groups” (i.e. forces like the petty-bourgeois Islamists of Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham, TIP, HaD etc.) should have been withdrawn so that the Assadist, Iranian and Russian occupation forces would no longer face any resistance. Likewise the two main highways, Aleppo-Latakia and Aleppo-Hama, should have been opened under the control of Turkey and Russia by the end of 2018.


2.             The goal of the Putin-Erdoğan deal was to weaken and to defeat those “extremist” forces which have always opposed the treacherous Sochi/Astana process and which have called for the continuation of the liberation struggle against the Assad tyranny. Instead, the purpose of this deal was to bring Greater Idlib, the last citadel of the Syrian Revolution, under the full control of the Turkish army and those rebel forces under the command of Ankara (Jabhat al-Wataniya lil-Tahrir).


3.             The RCIT has always explained that if the Sochi Deal would have been fully implemented, it would have represented a total pacification of the liberation struggle of the Syrian people against the Assad tyranny and its Russian imperialist masters. This would have resulted in the end of the Syrian Revolution.


4.             However, the last few months, and the last few days in particular, are giving hope that the treacherous Sochi Deal is about to collapse. Hardly any of the steps agreed at Sochi has been implemented until now. HTS, TIP, HaD and others are continuing military operations against the Assadist forces. Neither have they been expelled from the so-called demilitarized zone nor have the highways been opened under Russian-Turkish control. Even more, in the last days, HTS forces made huge advances in pushing back those pro-Turkish JWT groups which support the treacherous Sochi/Astana Deal.


5.             The failure of the implementation of the Sochi agreement is a most welcome development. It demonstrates the ongoing determination of the Syrian oppressed masses to continue the struggle against the Assad tyranny and the Russian imperialist occupiers.


6.             However, we warn about the imminent dangers for the Syrian popular masses. First and foremost, there is a significant danger that the Russian, Iranian and Assadist aggressors will use the victory of HTS in Idlib as a pretext to carpet bomb and invade this last citadel of the Syrian Revolution. Secondly, there is a great danger that the Turkish army and their local allies will attack the HTS forces. Finally, there exists also the danger that Ankara will try again to bribe and corrupt a sector of the HTS leadership so that it agrees with the Sochi/Astana treachery.


7.             Without doubt, the Stalinist and Bolivarian regimes and parties around the world will cheer any Assadist/Russian aggression against Idlib. This confirms, once more, their counterrevolutionary character. In contrast, authentic revolutionaries continue to defend the liberation struggle of the Syrian people. Without having any illusions in the leadership of petty-bourgeois Islamists, we side with them against the reactionary killing machine of Assad and Putin as well as against the treacherous pro-Sochi/Astana forces.


8.             However, all this must not deflect attention from the serious crisis of the Syrian Revolution. The Syrian masses remain besieged in Greater Idlib and suffer from the lack of any authentic revolutionary leadership. The RCIT insists that the only way forward is the creation of workers and poor peasant councils as well as the building of an authentic workers and poor peasant army as part of a struggle for the revolutionary overthrow of the regime. All this underlines, once more, the urgent need of the creation of an authentic revolutionary party as part of a Revolutionary World Party.


9.             It is crucial to intensify an international solidarity campaign with the liberation struggle of the Syrian masses. This is even particularly urgent in times like these when the Syrian Revolution face enmity from all capitalist regimes. The Western imperialists are looking for rapprochement with the Assad regime. Likewise, reactionary dictatorships like those in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt are advancing a plan, in coordination with Israel, to welcome the Assad regime back into the Arab League.


10.          At the same time, the Syrian workers and oppressed have numerous potential allies like the popular masses on the streets in Tunisia, Jordan, Palestine, Iran and Sudan! In fact, it is urgent to unite the popular uprisings to a powerful united revolutionary process against all capitalist regimes! The RCIT calls the workers and oppressed around the world to express their support with their Syrian brothers and sisters!




International Secretariat




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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: