All out to defend the Syrian Revolution against the Astana Conspirators! For an anti-Assad, anti-imperialist and anti-capitulationist united front
By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 07.10.2017, www.thecommunists.net
In the last hours, Turkey and Russia finally started their onslaught on the last free citadel of the Syrian Revolution. Erdoğan himself announced today in a speech at his AK Party's 26th Consultation and Assessment meeting that "a serious operation" was beginning in Syria's Idlib – the last large area under control of the Syrian liberation fighters where two million Syrians are living. (1)
Adapting to the notorious language used by Assad, Teheran, Moscow and Washington, the Turkish President denounced the supporters of the Syrian Revolution as “terrorists”: "We will never allow the formation of a terror corridor along our Syrian border.”
The invasion is spearheaded by FSA troops who serve as mercenaries for the Erdoğan and Putin. According to reports 800 fighters from 15 FSA groups entered Idlib via the Bab al Hawa border crossing. (2) Let us memorize the names of these treacherous groups which now act as marionettes of the imperialist conspirators of Astana! Among them are the FSA Liwa Mu'tasim, the FSA Hamza Division and the FSA Liwa Samarkand. (3)
The Astana Conspiracy
There exists not the slightest doubt about the goal of this invasion. As the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) and other supporters of the Syrian Revolution have warned for a long time, the Assad regime, Russia, Iran and Turkey reached an agreement at their negotiations at Astana in spring this year. (4) This deal comprises the liquidation of the Syrian Revolution, consolidation of Assad’s domination in the country and the establishment of four so-called "de-escalation zones" in those areas which are still under control of the liberation fighters (of which Idlib is the largest and most important). The goal of this plan to disarm and “integrate” (i.e. corrupt) the remaining rebel forces so that they give up the struggle against the Assad dictatorship. Hence the Astana deal includes the occupation of the four zones by Russian, Iranian and Turkish troops which will, sooner or later, ensure the full re-establishment of Assad’s terrorist regime in the whole country.
Unsurprisingly, the Astana deal has been supported by US imperialism, which is currently occupying the north of Syria with the help of their SDF/YPG foot soldiers, as well as the European Union from the very first moment as these powers have always desired for the liquidation of the Syrian Revolution. Shamefully this deal also received the tacit support of the leaderships of various demoralized and corrupted groups of the so-called “moderate” Syrian opposition including the FSA.
Now, the assassins of the Syrian Revolution – Assad, Putin, Rouhani, and Erdoğan, with the support of Trump – are all uniting now to smash the last free citadel of the Syrian people in Idlib. Erdoğan himself is openly admitting this collaboration. According to the Turkish state media, he announced in his speech today “that Russia is backing the operation from the air and Turkish soldiers from inside the Turkish border.” (5)
Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham defends Idlib
The main target of the Turkish-Russian invasion in Idlib is Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) – the largest and most dedicated force which is continuing the struggle against the genocidal Assad dictatorship and the imperialist aggressors, Russia and US as well as their local lackeys (SDF/YPG, Iran, Turkey). The HTS has correctly, and unlike many other opposition forces, publicly denounced the Astana deal and called for the continuation of the struggle against the Assad dictatorship. The imperialists – both Russia as well as the US – and their local mercenaries have already prepared for this invasion in the past months by indiscriminately bombing civilian areas in Idlib (including hospitals (6)), by targeted air strikes against HTS leaders (7), and by orchestrating splits and divisions in HTS. (8)
It is symbolic for the counter-revolutionary, pro-Assadist character of the Turkish-Russian invasion in Idlib that it takes place only one day after HTS launched a successful offensive in East Hama against the Assad forces. (9)
The RCIT and other supporters of the Syrian Revolution have warned about the Russian-Iranian-Turkish conspiracy for a very long time. Many brothers and sisters did not believe us when we warned them about the reactionary character of the Erdoğan regime. They thought that Turkey would not do this. However, there can be no doubt now about the intention of Ankara: it wants to have its share of the Syrian cake, it wants to continue the oppression of the Kurdish people and it is happy to sell the Syrian people for this purpose.
All forces who are determined to continue the Syrian liberation struggle must understand that the Turkish state is their enemy like Russian and US imperialism, like Assad and like the Iranian regime. It has been one of the tragic failures of Syrian Revolution that many leaders hoped for support from imperialist or regional powers like the US or Turkey. As we predicted such hopes had no basis and only led to disorientation, defeat and demoralization. A revolution can only win if it relies first and foremost on the organized power of the workers and poor peasants!
Stand with the Idlib in these difficult hours!
Naturally, as revolutionary communists we have no illusions about the nature of the HTS leadership, which follows a petty-bourgeois nationalist-Islamist agenda. This, however, does not limit our unconditional support for the liberation struggle in Syria and in particular, in these difficult hours, in Idlib – even if it is led by forces which ideological agenda we strongly reject (like the HTS).
The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency calls once more for international solidarity with the Syrian Revolution. The international workers’ movement and popular mass organizations must defend the anti-capitulationist liberation forces which are continuing the struggle against the Assad regime and the Great Powers and their allies. In this decisive hour, we call for the defeat of the Turkish-Russian invasion and their local mercenaries and the defense of the liberation forces in Idlib. We call all Syrian liberation fighters to create a joint military bloc against the enemies of the revolution. For an anti-Assad, anti-imperialist and anti-capitulationist united front!
Most crucially, all Syrian revolutionaries should learn the lessons of the defeats which the liberation struggle experienced in the past years. This includes the combination of the defense of liberated areas like Idlib with a socialist program. Instead of hoping for support by this or that foreign power or by focusing on a militarist guerilla strategy, revolutionaries should fight for the organization of the popular masses in independent councils and armed militias. The goal of the liberation struggle must be the creation of a multinational, independent workers’ and peasants republic in Syria as part of a socialist federation of the Middle East!
We are fully aware about the difficult situation. This might be the Syrian Revolution’s last stand against overwhelming enemies. Encircled and attacked by Assad’s army, the Russian and American imperialists, the Turkish army as well as the Iranian forces and Hezbollah and even the “FSA” traitors – the Syrian liberation fighters face a nearly impossible task. However, only those who aid the imperialist will cynically stand aside or even join the traitors. All honest fighters for freedom will continue to support the ongoing liberation struggle!
* Defeat the Turkish-Russian invasion against the free Syrians in Idlib!
* Condemn the FSA mercenaries of Erdoğan and Putin!
* For a military bloc of all forces which continue to defend the Syrian Revolution against the imperialist Astana Conspirators! For an anti-Assad, anti-imperialist and anti-capitulationist united front!
* Down with the Astana Deal! Support the Syrian Revolution!
* Defend Idlib against the Great Powers and their allies!
* For a multinational, independent workers’ and peasants republic in Syria – free of sectarianism, foreign occupation and dictatorship!
* For international mass mobilizations and strikes of workers, migrants and youth to stop the imperialist aggression of Russia and the US against the peoples of the Middle East!
(1) TRT World: Turkey says major operation underway in Syria's Idlib, 2017-10-07, https://www.trtworld.com/middle-east/turkey-says-major-operation-underway-in-syria-s-idlib-11164
(4) See on this the RCIT analysis: Michael Pröbsting: Syrian Revolution: The Moment of Truth is Approaching! Rally to defend the Syrian Revolution against the Imperialist conspiracy called the "Astana Deal"! 20.09.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/syria-moment-of-truth-approaching/; RCIT: Syria: Defend Idlib against the Great Powers! Down with the reactionary Astana Deal! Defend the Revolution against the butcher Assad, against Russian and US Imperialism and the local Allies! Victory to the Struggle of the Workers and Oppressed! 04.08.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/defend-idlib-against-great-powers/; Michael Pröbsting: Syria: The Astana-Deal Struggle Intensifies. Some Notes on Recent Developments in the Syrian Civil War and the Dangers for the Liberation Struggle, 28 July 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/syrian-revolution-28-7-2017/; RCIT: Syria: Condemn the Reactionary Astana Deal! The so-called "De-Escalation Zones" are a First Step towards the Partition of Syria and a Conspiracy by the Great Powers to Defeat the Revolution, 7 May 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/astana-deal/
(5) TRT World: Turkey says major operation underway in Syria's Idlib, 2017-10-07, https://www.trtworld.com/middle-east/turkey-says-major-operation-underway-in-syria-s-idlib-11164
(6) See e.g. the OGN Report: Powerful Russian Missile Blasts 3 Floors of Hospital, September 26, 2017, http://ogn.news/prm-2/
(7) Russia claimed on 5 October to have killed a number of HTS commanders as well as severely injured its chief leader Abu Mohamad al-Golani. (See Reuters: Russia says kills 7 Nusra Front field commanders in Syria air strike, October 5, 2017, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-russia/russia-says-kills-7-nusra-front-field-commanders-in-syria-air-strike-idUSKBN1CA0F5). However, HTS strongly denied Golani injury. (See Orient-Net: Tahrir al-Sham to Orient News: Al-Julani is not injured, 04.10.2017, http://orient-news.net/en/news_show/141163/0/Tahrir-al-Sham-to-Orient-News-Al-Julani-is-not-injured )
(8) See e.g. Al-Shahid: HTS endures splits and defections as Jolani takes the leadership role, 2017-10-05, https://alshahidwitness.com/hts-splits-defections-jolani-role/; The Separation of the third largest bloc of HTS Organization, 13 Sep, 2017, http://www.aldorars.com/en/news/1597; Mustafa Harrington: Shaykh Muhaysini Resigns from HTS Amid Controversy, OGN News, September 12, 2017, http://ogn.news/smr/
(9) Qasioun News: HTS Impose A Siege Over Abu Daly Village Southern Idlib (Pictures), 7 October 2017, http://qasioun.net/en/news/show/101055/HTS_Impose_A_Siege_Over_Abu_Daly_Village_Southern_Idlib_Pictures
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For the RCIT’s analysis of the Arab Revolution in general and the Syrian Revolution in particular, we refer readers to our numerous articles and documents which can be accessed from the Africa and Middle East section of our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/. In particular we refer readers to the following documents:
Michael Pröbsting: Syrian Revolution: The Moment of Truth is Approaching! Rally to defend the Syrian Revolution against the Imperialist conspiracy called the "Astana Deal"! 20.09.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/syria-moment-of-truth-approaching/
RCIT: Syria: Defend Idlib against the Great Powers! Down with the reactionary Astana Deal! Defend the Revolution against the butcher Assad, against Russian and US Imperialism and the local Allies! Victory to the Struggle of the Workers and Oppressed! 04.08.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/defend-idlib-against-great-powers/
Michael Pröbsting: Syria: The Astana-Deal Struggle Intensifies. Some Notes on Recent Developments in the Syrian Civil War and the Dangers for the Liberation Struggle, 28 July 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/syrian-revolution-28-7-2017/
RCIT: Syria: Condemn the Reactionary Astana Deal! The so-called "De-Escalation Zones" are a First Step towards the Partition of Syria and a Conspiracy by the Great Powers to Defeat the Revolution, 7 May 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/astana-deal/
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/
Johannes Moraga: Syria: Was the Chemical Attack a “False Flag” Operation? Let’s make Syria the graveyard for Assad, Putin and Trump! Victory to the Revolution! 14 April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/syria-false-flag/
RCIT: Syria: No to Trump's Missiles Strike! Drive all Great Powers out of Syria! Victory to the Syrian Revolution! 7 April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/us-air-strike-in-syria/
RKO BEFREIUNG: Press Conference on Assad's Chemical Weapons Attack and the US Air Strike, Report (with video) on a press conference of the Syrian Community and the Austrian Section of the RCIT on 7 April 2017 in Vienna, https://www.thecommunists.net/rcit/press-conference-syria-7-4-2017/
Yossi Schwartz: Raqqa: Defeat the US Imperialist Offensive! An assessment of the US/SDF/YPG war against Daesh, April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/us-offensive-in-raqqa/
RCIT: Down with the Assad Tyranny! Victory to the Syrian Revolution! For a Workers and Peasants Republic! Draft Platform of Syrian Revolutionaries in Political Solidarity with the RCIT, April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/draft-syria-platform/
RCIT: Defeat the Imperialist Invasion in Syria – Victory to the Revolution! Down with the American and Russian interventions! No to the imperialist plan to divide Syria! Down with the butcher Assad and his imperialist allies! 13.03.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/imperialist-invasion-in-syria/
RCIT: World Perspectives 2017: The Struggle against the Reactionary Offensive in the Era of Trumpism, Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries, 18 December 2016, Chapter IV. The Middle East and the State of the Arab Revolution, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-perspectives-2017/part-4/
RCIT: Revolution and Counterrevolution in the Arab World: An Acid Test for Revolutionaries, 31 May 2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/theses-arab-revolution/