These words were written on a placard by a young Syrian revolutionary in the besieged city of Homs and translates very well the determination of the Syrian people. More than two years after the beginning of the revolution, the Syrian people have actually not ceased to struggle for freedom and dignity despite the continuous and terrible repression of the regime. The Syrian revolution is still on going despite the massacres against the civilians and destructions.
The regime continues its war against the people
The Syrian dictatorship has continued its criminal policy and large-scale massacres against the Syrian people. The last example of this barbarism was on August 21, 2013 when the Syrian regime attacked with chemical weapons and toxic gas the region of Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, killing more than a thousand people including a large number of women and children. Medecins Sans Frontieres issued a statement saying that hospitals it supports in Syria treated about 3,600 patients with “neurotoxic symptoms”, of whom 355 have died. It said the patients had arrived in three hospitals in the Damascus governorate on 21 August – when opposition activists say chemical attacks were launched against rebels. This statement provided more evidence of chemical weapons use.
This new massacre, preceded by many others, occurred in the framework of a general offensive against one of the bastions of the revolution. At the beginning of the month of August, a previous massacre was actually committed by Assad’s forces, killing 100 people and wounding more than 1000, in the same region.
Many popular demonstrations took place after the massacre across the country to condemn this new crime and denounce the inaction of the international community and it so called red lines, always violated by the regime. Strikes were called across the country the day after the massacre. The Friday 23 August, usual day of mass of popular demonstration in Syria, was called ‘The Terrorist Bashar kills Civilians with Chemical Weapons as the World watches’. Sarcastic messages and placards were numerous throughout the demonstrations, mocking the inaction of the international community (https://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/رسائل-تنسيقيات-اللجان-الى-العالم-coordination-committees-m/). Revolutionaries wrote on a wall for example in the street of besieged Homs “The next red line: the use of nuclear power“.
The statement of the Revolutionary Left Current in Syria (https://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/statement-of-the-revolutionary-left-current-in-syria-on-the-massacre-in-the-region-of-east-ghouta-resulting-use-of-chemical-weapons-by-the-assad-regime/) condemning the massacre resumed very well the feeling of many among the popular movement, notably saying that “Our revolution has no sincere ally, except the popular revolutions of the region and of the world and of all the militants struggling against regimes of ignorance and servitude and exploitation“.
The regime committed this new massacre in the framework of the events of the region and especially the counter-revolution reaction in Egypt led by the army and supported by Saudi Arabia, the center of the counter-revolution.
This new massacre strengthens the determination of the Syrian popular movement firstly to continue the revolution for freedom and dignity and secondly that the worst solution would be that the structure of the system is maintained in a “political solution” to implemented a “peaceful transition” as proposed repeatedly by the so called allies of Syrian revolution, the United States and the European Union and accepted without any surprise by the allies of the regime (Russia and Iran). The victory of the revolution in Syria and its spread to the region would actually be a threat to all the regimes, especially the Gulf monarchies and Iran, and therefore both the USA and Russia.
This massacre has also to be understood following the declarations of the dictator Bachar al Assad few weeks before, in which he declared that “No solution can be reached with terror except by striking it with an iron fist”. In the other words, the regime will continue its attempts to crush military and through deadly destructions and repression the Syrian popular revolution. Assad added that the army, untrained for guerrilla warfare, “has achieved the impossible.” Yes indeed it has been successful in destroying entire neighborhoods, villages and even city, while pushing half of the population to become refugees inside or outside the country and killing more than 100 000 persons. Mid of August, this declaration was already translated in practice by bombing the neighborhood of Bustan al-Qqassr in Aleppo, killing at least 40 people and dozens wounded with mass destruction for the buildings.
In the same time Homs continues to suffer from the siege imposed by the regime forces, which have imposed even more restrictions on movement and transportation of the people in the embattled city of Homs. Activists reported many abuses against women by ‘Al-Mazra’a’ checkpoint, one of the most humiliating blockades in Homs, which considered as the main gate to inter Al-Waer neighbourhood (http://zamanalwsl.net/en/readNews.php?id=998). In additon, the besieged neighborhood of the city is suffering from lack of food and medicine. because the regime as blocked access to the old city of Homs.
The regime has issued a legislative decree licensing private companies for protection and guarding services, in a clear attempt to “legitimize” the work of its militias like the ‘Popular National Defense Army’. The decree stipulates that the Interior Ministry will be in charge of licensing these companies, giving them permission to use firearms, and approving candidates for guard work, with these companies being responsible for training their employees and equipping them (http://zamanalwsl.net/en/readNews.php?id=1017). The decree also authorized the ‘new militias’ to arrest any individual that attempts to trespass or attack locations, individuals, items or funds under their protection, and they must report to the police as soon as they make an arrest.
Despite these declarations, the Syrian people continue to resist, to struggle, to demonstrate and to sing that they will not kneel. This resistance has also comprised the strike of the Pharmaceutical industry workers’ in Damascus end of July, more exactly the 29th in protest against the high cost of living and lack of security, many looting occurred. The cost of basic goods has soared by more than 300%. A family of five now has to make three times what it used to before the crisis, needing a monthly fixed salary between SYP 95,000 ($905) and SYP 126,000 ($1,200) to sustain its basic needs. 80% of Syrians do not make more than SYP 30,000 ($286). In the same context, the UN World Food Program (WFP) published a recent report, saying that 4 million Syrians are unable to secure their nutritional needs. Poverty rates have exceeded all expectations, reaching 80% of the population and unemployment rates, on the other hand, are over 55% of the workforce, according to official records.
For the the defender of Assad regime based on its so called anti imperialism, read this quote of Pierre Frank, French Trotskyist : “Let us note that the greatest theoreticians of Marxism did not at all define the political nature of a bourgeois regime by the positions which the latter held in the field of foreign policy but solely and simply by the position it occupied in relation to the classes composing the nation”…
Islamist reactionary forces, a danger for the revolution
Islamists reactionary groups, despite participating in some battles against the regime on the military level, have continued to act against revolutionary activists and some FSA battalions, the last example was in the city of Raqqa mid August in which the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) took over the bases of the Kata’ib Ahfad al-Rasool, which came after a violent attack launched by the ISIS on the other rebel faction. This offensive began with the ISIS detonating a car bomb by the Ahfad base in the Mahattat al-Qitar neighbourhood, east Raqqah city, the ISIS then launched a large-scale and violent attack on the Ahfad bases and took full control. Tens of the Ahfad al-Rasool rebels were killed, injured or taken captive. 1 rebel leader from Ahfad al-Rasool was killed during the clashes. To protest against ISIS acts, civilians took to the streets heading towards the train station after the ISIS blew up a car bomb targeting the headquarters of Ahfad Al-Rasoul brigade of FSA, leaving dead and wounded. Demonstrators demanded to allow them to rescue the wounded and to put an end to the fighting between ISIS fighters and Ahfad Al-Rasoul brigade. The following videos show panic among civilians in the vicinity of clashes http://youtu.be/_0RZYUXENig and http://youtu.be/OaL_ExmrSNY. Another footage showing demonstrators heading towards the train station: http://youtu.be/56qblqEv7tk. Protesters called in may demonstrations to jihadists “to leave” their area and chanted “Syria is free! The (Islamic) State (of Iraq and the Levant) must get out!”.
The ISIL also expelled FSA forces from several regions the FSA liberated and declared their will to establish Islamic emirates, while refusing to fight on the front lines in Aleppo, Homs and Khan al Asal.
Tensions between FSA groups and Islamist forces of Jabhat al Nusra and ISIL have expanded continuously in some regions.
Islamists have also arrested and kidnapped hundreds of activists, including Father Paolo, and civilians these past few weeks and even months. These acts, must be condemned as a threat to the Syrian popular revolution, just as the indiscriminate attacks on the Kurdish people and other religious minorities of Syria by these same groups (see the position of the Revolutionary Left Current in Syria : https://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/بيان-حول-المسألة-الكردية-و-ما-يجري-في-ال/ and https://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/syria-the-kurdish-question-the-islamists-and-the-fsa/) . In the city of Tell al Abiad, the actions of extremists islamists groups have caused the forced departure of Kurdish civilians, and specifically the ones affiliated with the Democratic Union Party (known as the PYD) (http://www.all4syria.info/Archive/91463), which we do not support and has also been guilty of authoritarian practices against Kurdish activists (see https://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/statement-by-the-kurdish-youth-movement-tck-about-the-latest-events-in-the-city-of-amouda-and-videos-and-pictures-from-the-protests-and-sit-ins/ and http://www.kurdwatch.org/newsletter/newsletter.php?z=en&aid=2907). In the midst of the escalation in fighting between Islamist reactionary forces and Kurds on more than one front, the Kurdish National Council in Syria pronounced several Kurdish cities disaster areas. This coincided with unprecedented Kurdish immigration into Iraqi Kurdistan, where it is estimated that around 30,000 refugees arrived only last week.
In the region of Hassaka, the growing presence of radical jihadist groups, including al-Qaeda, has also seen Christians targeted.
“It began as kidnapping for money, but then they started telling me I should worship Allah,” a male Christian resident of Hasakah who was kidnapped by jihadists said (http://zamanalwsl.net/en/readNews.php?id=977).
Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS have also continued some sectarian assassination. The ISIS summarily executed 2 Muslim Shi’i young men (aged below 18) from the al-Sharbo family of the Nubbul town after they kidnapped the young men days earlier (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwQxhuj3UWU&feature=youtu.be) and 3 Alawite bus drivers in another occasion (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2kIuMEcY5B8).
We must be clear: all groups that encourage sectarianism, kidnapping, torture and murder as a practice of power must be considered enemies of the revolution to fight.
The actions of the islamists groups of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Jabhat al Nusra, especially active in the Northern region of Syria, have nevertheless not come without resistance from the local population, both Arab and Kurds.
In the city of Raqqa, which has seen continuous resistance and steadfast against islamists groups since the liberation of the town from regime troops in March 2013, few demonstrations in solidarity with the activists kidnapped and demanding their freedom, while condemning the actions of the ISIL:
– Sit in Raqqa August 5 2013
Translation of the pancard : Firas Hajj Saleh and Father Di Paolo
Who kidnapped our youth is a traitor to the regime and a killer of the revolution
– Sit in Raqqa August 2013
Solidarity with the acitivists kidnapped by EIID and demanding their liberation
In the Friday demonstartion of August 2 2013, the Local Coordination Comittee in its weekly statement wrote notably that « in an unified messages from the revolution to everyone and the world, we confirme that the kidnapping of activists and essential actors in the revolution not only serves the interest of tyranny, and but these actions harm the freedom and dignity of the revolution » (https://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/08/03/رسائل-تنسيقيات-اللجان-إلى-العالم/)
In the neighbourhood of Bustan Qasr, in Aleppo, the local population continues to denounce the authoritarian rule and actions of the Sharia Council as we can see in this video of August 2 2013 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0BsqfQTbzes
On August 23, the protesters of Bustan Qasr while demonstrating against the massacre committed by the regime against people of Eastern Ghouta, were also demanding the release of the famous activist Abu Maryam, once more imprisoned by the Aleppo Sharia Council.
These groups have shown that they constitute a threat to the revolution and that they actually are part of the counter-revolution by their reactionary ideology and sectarianism, but the reality of their material strength (political, military and economic) cannot be compared to the Syrian regime, the greatest and most dangerous enemy of the democratic and social revolution. The latest massacre committed by this latter proves it once more. The Syrian popular movement does not want to overthrow a dictatorship to see it replace by a new one.
The Syrian National Coalition has denounced some practices of the islamists extremists groups. The SNC hold nevertheless some responsibility in the spread of these groups or at least by their cover, by defending them groups in the beginning despite their reactionary and sectarian ideology, instead of standing firmly on the principles of the Syrian revolution ( Freedom, Dignity and no to sectarianism) and doing everything possible to develop the democratic components of the FSA and strengthening them by providing them with material and financial support. These groups just as the Syrian regime want to divide the Syrian people into sectarian and ethnic entities, while the Syrian revolution want to break the sectarian and ethnic division that the regime has tried to enforce on the people.
Against division between Arabs and Kurds
In the same time, attempts to divide Kurds and Arabs whether by the actions of the regime or the islamists groups have been resisted and combatted through popular initiatives from activists and people of the region. Initiatives have indeed increasingly appeared to demonstrate the fraternity of Kurds and Arabs in this region and to re-affirm that the Syrian popular revolution is for all and against racism and sectarianism.
In the neighborhood of Achrafieh, inhabited mostly by Kurds, in the city of Aleppo, a demonstration was organized and chanted slogans in favor of the fraternity between Arabs and Kurds, while also condemnations actions committed by extremists islamists groups against Kurdish population.
In the city of Tell al Abiad, which was submitted to intense fights between PYD and ISIL and as well as a quasi siege imposed by this latter on the Kurdish areas of this town, activists have tried to launch an initiative to cease the military conflict between the two groups, stop the force departure of the civilians, establish a popular committee to rule and manage the city on a daily basis, promote initiatives and actions gathering Arabs and Kurds, promote peaceful ways to debate and reach consensus, and preserve the historic good relations between the various local populations, especially Arabs and Kurds (http://www.all4syria.info/Archive/91463).
In the city of Amouda, people gathered with Kurdish and Syrian flags with a placard saying « I love you Homs » to show their solidarity with this latter besieged by the regime’s arms. (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=631569316867325&set=a.618729151484675.1073741828.618627381494852&type=1&theater)
The Kurdish Student Union’s branch in Qamichlo did a small internet campaign calling for freedom, peace and brotherhood, tolerance and equality for Syria’s future (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=699662626719254&set=a.285805024771685.75703.284889871529867&type=1&theater)
Following the massacre committed in Eastern Ghouta by the regime, many Kurds in Syria demonstrated their solidarity with them, and condemned the crime. On August 23, a mass protest by Kurds occurred in Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan demonstrating against Bashar al-Assad chemical crime in Eastern Ghouta 23 august 2013
There is no coming back to the era of Assad regime before the beginning of the revolution and no alternative to the continuation of the revolution. One of the main slogans in Syria chanted by the protesters is “Rather death than humiliation”. In the same time, we have to be clear that islamists reactionary groups are a threat to the revolution and for the edification of a democratic, social and non sectarian society in Syria. If they attack revolutionaries they must be condemned and challenged through different ways.
This is the line of the Revolutionary Left Current in Syria, which from the very beginning, despite its modest capacities, has not once faltered in its engagement with the revolution, calling for democracy and socialism. The party has struggled alongside the people and all democratic forces for the victory of this great popular revolution, just as it struggle for the formation of a socialist workers’ party. We do not divide groups or individuals between secular and religious, but between those who want to continue the revolution and achieve its objectives and those who oppose it.
The building of the revolutionary party, alongside and inside the large popular movement, firm on the principles of the revolution, (democracy, social justice and no to sectarianism) is not a utopian dream or hope, it already exists, but it is mostly a political necessity to allow the continuation of the revolution and the achievement of its objectives.
The Syrian people will not kneel!
Glory to the martyrs, healing for the wounded and victory of the popular revolution!
All the power and wealth to the people!