Five years of revolution in Syria

Statement by the International Workers Unity


March 15 marks five years of the popular uprising against dictatorship of Al-Assad in Syria. Since then, not for a single day have the Syrian people stopped fighting heroically for their freedom against the dictatorship and several invaders.

They were subjected to crushing attacks, including permanent bombings of population centres, as few people in history. There are more than 300,000 dead and millions of refugees in neighbouring countries, hundreds of thousands desperately trying to enter Europe, and millions driven from their cities and homes within Syria itself.

Nevertheless the struggle of its people continues. An important part of Aleppo, which used to be economically the most important city of the country, suburbs of Damascus and dozens of cities and towns remain in the hands of militia rebels, many clustered in the Free Syrian Army and others that have almost no centralisation. The majority, expressing the popular rebellion, are units formed spontaneously by young students or workers in each town in order to confront the genocidal repression.

On Friday 4 March in a hundred liberated cities in Syria there were significant popular demonstrations with the slogan “the revolution continues”. A demonstration of the incredible strength of the Syrian people, who for five years have been martyred with explosive barrels, bombings, chemical weapons, mass arrests and torture, and sieges of hunger at the hands of the forces of the regime of Bashar al-Assad and his allies, Putin and Iran, by the attacks of reactionary ISIS (Daesh, in Arabic) and by bombings of the US and its coalition of 18 countries.

The first responsible for this genocide is dictator Al-Assad, heir to a dynasty with 40 years in power. Al-Assad was the one who initiated the bombing of rebel cities, first with missiles and then with barrels loaded with bombs.

The so-called Islamic State, ISIS, is an ultra-reactionary organisation armed by the oil monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which are also allied to imperialism. ISIS acts as a “fifth column” dividing the anti-Assad front and establishing its reactionary dictatorship in regions formerly controlled by rebel popular sectors.

Russia, which has a military base on the Syrian coast, is the mainstay of the dictatorship. From the beginning it has sent missiles, bombs and other weapons. Now, under pretext of fighting ISIS, it is directly involved in systematically bombarding rebels and civilians to actually promote the advancement of the military dictatorship. The United States, that says to oppose Al-Assad, also bombs the civilian population with the same argument. Turkey, US ally and member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), covertly protects ISIS because its central objective is to attack the Kurds, oppressed national minority within its territory and also in northern Syria.

All these powers, imperialist and regional, neither act nor acted at any time to defend the freedom of the Syrian people, but to try to keep the “lesser evil” of Bashar al-Assad and expand their own regional domain.

Russia and the United States recently agreed to a military “truce” that would supposedly allow help to arrive in the besieged cities. But the truce is a sham because the bombings continue, with the pretext that “the truce does not include terrorists”. That is, the main function of the “truce”, agreed at meetings in Geneva and Munich, it is to uphold the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad and reach a “political solution” in which the United States and Russia direct a “transition” that keep the dictatorship and protect their respective allies and interests.

In turn, European governments armour themselves with all kinds of laws that expel, rob, imprison, and criminalise the refugees, while bombs fall on Syrian territory and in Geneva a ceremonial is prepared to rescue the regime of Al-Assad. We need to knock down all these walls and claim the right to free movement of all those fleeing war and persecution.

Under extreme conditions and under the ruins, the Syrian people are trying to build a future of freedom and social justice that will only be possible with the fall of the genocidal regime. In this struggle it is opposed by the governments of the region, the great powers and ISIS. They only have the solidarity of the peoples, which so far has been hampered by the paralysis of a sector of the world left that either gives explicit support to Al-Assad and Putin or else abstains.

Thousands of Syrians, taking advantage that military action was partially reduced, took to mobilise on the streets in Aleppo, Homs and other cities to repudiate Al-Assad and the bombardments; showing that the revolution is still alive. In the battle for Aleppo the fate of the Syrian people is in play. We call on the peoples of the world to show solidarity with the rebel people of Aleppo and the entire Syria. From the IWU–FI we support the fighters and rebel militias without giving any support their political leaderships.

Down with Al-Assad! Stop the bombings by Russia and imperialism! No to ISIS! Turkey and Iran out of Syria! Unity of Syrian and Kurd rebels! That the governments break relations with Bashar al-Assad! No to the walls of Europe! Freedom of movement for refugees!

International Workers Unity-Fourth International (IWU-FI)

March 11, 2016