Solidarity with the people of Syria

Solidarity, not interventions
Solidarity, not interventions

This is a joint statement by the International Socialist Network and Socialist Resistance.

The defeat of the government pro-war resolution in Parliament is important. Even though Labour voted against the Tory motion, it too had submitted a pro-war resolution, albeit calling for a pause until after the report from the UN weapons inspectors. That resolution was also defeated. These votes reflect the anti-war mood in Britain. But as far as the USA is concerned, the threat of war is still on the agenda possibly using bases in Britain.

The regime of Bashar al-Assad is every day carrying out more massacres of increasing cruelty against the people of Syria, whether it be the bombing of civilian areas or the use of chemical weapons. Two years into the uprising against the dictatorship, over 100,000 have died, two million are refugees and many more are “displaced” out of a population of just 20 million. This tragedy fills us with horror and rage.

We continue to extend our solidarity to the movement for democracy in Syria. We pay tribute to all those who have lost their lives in the fight against the brutal dictatorship and to all those who are continuing to resist.

But, the hypocrisy of imperialist countries also makes us angry. They bear the primary responsibility in the tragedy and in allowing the murderous Assad dictatorship to remain in power by allowing the rebellion to be starved of arms whilst Assad is supplied by Russia and Iran. They wring their hands at the plight on the Syrian people but deny them the means to defend themselves.

For over two years, Britain, the USA and France have stood by, refusing to deliver defensive anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons to the progressive and democratic components of the opposition, for fear that the toppling of the Assad regime may extend and deepen the revolution which started in Egypt and Tunisia in 2011. At the same time, they allowed Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to support Islamist reactionary forces, in their attempt at transforming the Syrian revolution into a sectarian war. They know that the victory of the revolution in Syria could spread to the region constituting a major threat to their regimes.

Now, Britain, the USA and France are discussing yet another “humanitarian intervention”, with targeted military strikes to warn Assad that they have the monopoly on the use of chemical weapons.

We continue oppose with the utmost determination any foreign direct military intervention in Syria, be it that of the USA, Britain, France and their allies or that of Iran and its allies. Those within the rebellion who support this are making a big mistake. We believe that the people of Syria should be enabled to free themselves from the Assad dictatorship. For their struggle to be successful, they should receive all the necessary material aid, including arms and humanitarian assistance, without conditions imposed by the West.

There has been a deafening silence from Western states in the face of the huge refugee crisis gripping Syria. This reflects the long-term racism and islamophobia against refugees and economic migrants.

The Assad dictatorship has burnt all the bridges to a possible peaceful and negotiated transition to democracy. Both the USA and Britain on one side, and Russia and Iran on the other want a solution imposed from above: maintain the regime but remove Bashar al-Assad.

We reject the notion that this rebellion has been co-opted by imperialism. This remains a popular revolution by a people struggling to free itself from oppression. It is a key component of the Arab spring which has inspired the masses of the region and beyond.

We oppose both the “humanitarian intervention” of Britain, France and the USA, and the pro-Assad intervention by Iran and Russia. Instead, we choose to be on the side of the revolutionary masses struggling for their emancipation, and extend our solidarity in particular to the democratic and progressive components of the revolution.

Alongside the Stop the War Coalition, we will continue to campaign against intervention in Syria by Britain, France and the USA, and to send practical relief and humanitarian aid to the Syrian revolution. We also extend our hand of solidarity to Syrian socialists such as those in the Revolutionary Left Current, who have stated that their ‘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’.

No to imperialist intervention.
Solidarity with the revolution against the Assad  dictatorship.
Let the people of Syria determine their own future, free from foreign intervention.


  1. The statement is generally good, but I don’t understand why this has been produced without either ACI/WP on it, when we’re in unity talks and we have a shared position??

  2. We wanted to get something out in time for tomorrow’s demonstration. The text does included significant amendments from ACI members but they felt that they needed to discuss the matter more fully at a meeting this weekend before deciding to put their name to it.

    Workers Power were not consulted as the three groups involved in the realignment process have still to reach a common position on their participation.

  3. The author of the piece is confused about who the imperialists in this conflict are; contrary to popular opinion the imperialists are not the US and UK…they are the Islamists fighting inside Syria who want to return to the time of the Caliphate and start redrawing borders.

  4. Given the predominace of the Islamist groups within the popular struggle against Assad who are the groups that represent a socialist perspective and how influential are they.

    One other point it’s nieve to think that any capitalist government will send military aid to any genuine liberation struggle.

    • Hi RobM I really did like the statement from socialists in the region regarding the Syrian conflict. Seems to me that as the statement argues what began as a genuine popular uprising has become transformed into an increasingly sectarian struggle. Last night on radio4 there was a report from a UN representative which pointed to the real danger of the civil war sliding into an attempted genocidal attrocity.

      Whether this horror develops I don’t know it all depends on what if any forces remain in Syria that can act as an attraction for a progressive political struggle led by a politically conscious working class. Should such a force come into existence then option five of the statement is the only one that the left should accept. It gets around having to rely on Imperialist forces who will have their own agenda to sabotage any genuine liberation struggle and at the same time puts the Syrian working class in control. Reminds me of Trotsky’s advice for Barcelona in 1936 I think.

    7:30pm, at ULU, Malet Street, WC1E 7HY

    Are the Arab revolutions in retreat?
    What are the results and prospects?

    GILBERT ACHCAR, author of The People Want: A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising.
    HANNAH ELSISI, socialist activist from Cairo

    Organised by:
    Socialist Resistance, International Socialist Network and the Anti Capitalist Initiative

  6. “Reminds me of Trotsky’s advice for Barcelona in 1936 I think.”

    If left-wing groups controlled a large urban centre, there might be some resemblance to Barcelona 1936.
    But they don’t.
    The groups who do, to the extent that they have a fully elaborated political programme, are nothing like the CNT or POUM.
    Whereas some of the Syrian rebel groups certainly resemble the Francoists and Carlists.

    The Nusra Front is a right-wing pan-Islamist force, allegedly linked to Al Qaeda.
    It’s not entirely clear who arms and finances them, but the US and Saudi goverments don’t want them to hold power
    The FSA on the other hand, received a fresh consignment of anti-tank missiles in mid August via Jordan, which was paid for by the Saudis.
    If Obama wins his vote in Congress we can expect to see the US supply more weapons to the FSA too.

    They are being groomed as the ground force which will overthrow Assad, while keeping the Nusra Front under control.
    US-French air-strikes will not target chemical weapons dumps.
    They will be directed at Army bases, the Syrian air force & navy and its advanced anti-aircraft & anti-ship missile systems.
    The aim is to decisively weaken the Syrian State.

    John Kerry has made the US State Deparment’s position on Syria quite clear.
    Just as he praised the Egyptian Miltary coup for “restoring democracy”.
    There’s no contradiction in these positions – he’s just a consistent counter-revolutionary.
    Whereas the rebels are inconsistent “anti-imperialists”
    It’s hard to see any significant section of them who resisting the opportunity they will be presented with by US bombing.
    Their real problem isn’t their lack of weapons, but their lack of social roots and political programme.

    • Your right priankoff my comparison with Barcelona was a poor one for all the reasons that you mention. I stand corrected. Agree that the social/class roots amd a correct political programme of the opposition takes primacy over lack of weapons.

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