Idlib is not the end of the story

Aftermath of an air strike on Idlib late last month.

What is happening in Syria? More than half a million people have died since the war in Syria began in 2011. Five million Syrians have sought refuge abroad and more than 6 million have been internally displaced.

The Syrian government, with the support of Russia and Iran, has conducted deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on civilians, withheld humanitarian aid, employed starvation as war tactic and forcibly displaced people. At least 238 separate attacks using cluster munitions in Syria between August 2016 and July last year were reported by local activists. Worse, the Syrian government’s forces launched numerous chemical weapons attacks on civilians in opposition-held areas.

Airstrikes by the US-led coalition caused 2286 civilian deaths up to September last year. On March 16, last year, a US warplane struck a mosque in al-Jinah village in Aleppo killing at least 38 people.

Non-state armed groups have also committed a host of violations. ISIS has reportedly used civilians as human shields and deployed landmines, causing significant harm to civilians.

And this is just a small sample of the horrible human tragedy that the people of Syria are going through right now.

Growth of ISIS

A peaceful protest by people who were tired of the tyranny in Syria, who came onto the streets calling for freedom and peace, turned into a seven-year indiscriminate war that has claimed the life of millions. Those millions did not want the intervention of anybody in their internal affairs. But that intervention released the genie of ISIS from the bottle, the genie that everybody claims now to be trying to push back into the bottle — by indiscriminate killing and displacing millions more.

ISIS is the authentic result of the ruthless oppression of the people of Syria over the past 50 years and denial of the rightful demands of the Sunni majority by the Assads. The minority group of Alawites, led by Bashar Al Assad and his father Hafiz Assad have ruled the country with an iron fist since 1971 — a policy that finally resulted in the people’s protest in 2011.

But the response of Assad and his supporters Russia, Iran and Turkey has been more killing and the destruction of houses and infrastructure all over the country. This brutal response has provided a fertile ground for the growth of ISIS, this illegitimate child of Al Qaeda, which was created by US in Afghanistan during its occupation by Russia.

Today all the participants in the Syrian war, West or East, Iran or Saudi Arabia claim that their war is for the sake of democracy and is a war against terrorism — a much used and worn statement that was previously used by Western imperialism to justify its invasion of Iraq. It is now being manipulated by Russian imperialism and its allies Iran and Turkey to justify their imminent attack to Idlib and to cover up their long-term ambitious plans of taking control on this part of the world, with its immense geopolitical value.

Global capitalism

But none of them has any respect for democracy and there is no concern for the rights of the Syrian people. In reality, West and East, together with their agents Iran and Saudi Arabia, are sacrificing the lives of thousands of innocent people to the altar of global capitalism.

How can Saudi Arabia become a saviour? Its lack of human rights is one of the best-known aspects of life in Saudi Arabia. The majority of the people live in the most disadvantaged conditions, while the royal family or a small group related to the royal family, live a legendry lifestyle. People in Saudi Arabia do not have the audacity to ask why their oil money has been spent to kill the children, women and men in Syria, Iraq or Yemen. Undoubtedly anyone who challenges the system and raises their voice will suffer the same fate as the female political and social activist who was beheaded in the public less than two months ago.

How can the Islamic Republic of Iran turn into a liberator when they have no respect for basic human rights and liberty in their own country — as basic as selecting your own dress? The Iranian government has imprisoned, tortured and murdered thousands of people, just because of their different way of thinking, beliefs, religious or ethnic origins. Last week Iran hanged six young political and social activists in Kurdistan and Baluchistan and there are many more imprisoned activists who are expecting the same fate in future.

How could these capitalist agents and their masters bring freedom to the people of Syria? They have brought death, destruction, homelessness, migration and, more importantly, created the monster called ISIS. They are responsible, as are all the individuals and organisations that either choose to stay silent or take the side of any of these invaders.

They should be held accountable and made to respond to the workers and poor people of all these countries. In one side, the people who lost their lives and homes in Syria, and on the other side, the people of the host countries who are under enormous financial, social and political pressure from their own governments that spend their money and resources to finance their dirty ambitions and dreams.

Power of the people

Despite the hypocritical claims and justifications of those who prefer one imperialism to the other, there is always a third option when you consider choosing between bad and worse. The third option is the power of the people who are demanding change.

Intervention in the internal affairs of Syria is not acceptable from any side, and the presence of one does not justify the existence of the other. We should send our support to the independent struggle of people, condemn any violation of human rights and request an immediate stop to this bloodshed.

We have to be the voice of the voiceless people who do not want the US, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia or ISIS; the people who are only looking for a harmonious life and equal rights for all residents regardless of their religious or ethnic affiliation.

Now Russia, Iran and Turkey are getting ready to launch a vast and intensive attack on Idlib, an area with more than three million residents and, most probably, with thousands of ISIS fighters who will use the civilians as human shields. This bloodshed should stop immediately, and this only can happen through supporting the people of Syria, and disclosing and condemning any attack on innocent people. Most importantly, we should call on the workers and poor people of the host countries to force their governments to stop intervention.

Iran protests

Currently the people of Iran are denouncing the government’s war in Syria through their protests in the streets. The Iranian government not only provides financial and political support but also sends troops and arms to Syria. They deceive the young Afghani migrants who do not have permanent residency in Iran, to go to the war in Syria by offering them citizenship.

But in the past six months the people have become fed up with the financial pressure, corruption and lack of basic rights and freedoms. They have flooded onto the streets of Tehran and more than 187 towns, cities and villages in Iran, expressing their hatred and disgust with the government and struggling to overthrew the system.

People in their chants denounce the government’s intervention in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon. They don’t want the money and resources of the country, where nearly two-thirds of the people are living under the poverty line, to be sent to Syria or any other country to kill women and children.

We are sure that the victory of the workers and poor people in the host countries will have a significant impact on the victory of democracy and freedom in Syria, which can be achieved without the intervention of any foreign countries and only by relaying on the power of their own people.

Idlib is not the end of story.

People who have experienced the taste of living in freedom never forget that experience and will not tolerate living under the same old order. They will survive as the embers under the ashes, awaiting the day to re-emerge.

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