Syrian forces crackdown on rebel bands

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

THE SYRIAN army has regained control of an area near the Turkish border after last week’s clashes with sectarian rebels that claimed the lives of over 120 Syrian police and soldiers. Security, electricity, water and communications have been restored and the government has urged all those who fled to Turkey to escape the fighting to now return to their homes.

Meanwhile Anglo-American and Franco-German imperialism is trying to mobilise United Nations support for a resolution condemning the Syrian crackdown that could lead to another Libyan-style imperialist intervention.

Russia and China boycotted last weekend’s session of the UN Security Council to stall the motion and Moscow and Beijing may veto it if it is eventually tabled.

Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Fayssal Mikdad told academics at Damascus University that the government wanted a national dialogue with all spectrums of Syrian society. But, he said, Syria faces a conspiracy to eliminate its pivotal role in the region and its standing by its allies to liberate the occupied Arab territories and restore legitimate rights.

The rebels, Mikdad said, had launched a murderous campaign against the army and security and had committed massacres against civilians and he condemned the campaign launched by Western countries against Syria as a flagrant interference in Syria’s internal affairs and an attempt to destabilise the region.

The rebels claim to be supporting the “pro-democracy” movement that organised anti-government protests in March following the upheavals in Tunisia and Egypt. But they are largely members of the banned reactionary Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and they are believed to be covertly supported by America and Israel.

Back in Damascus millions of people staged a pro-government demonstration on Wednesday, unfurling a gigantic 2.3 km long Syrian flag along the Mezzeh Boulevard. Over two million Syrians took to the streets of the capital to show their support for President Bashar al Assad and his Baathist-led government.

The day started with the Syrian national anthem and a moment of silence to honour the civilian and army martyrs killed in the fighting, followed by the unravelling of the gigantic flag across the city streets in what the campaign organiser, Rabi Diveh, called a massive expression of national unity and a rejection of foreign interference in the internal affairs of the country.

The Syrian Unified Communist Party, one of the two Syrian communist parties in the Baathist-led National Progressive Front government, condemned the terrorism committed by armed groups, and the exploitation of peaceful protest to cause sectarian tension and commit crimes against citizens and army and security personnel following a meeting of their central committee this week.

The Central Committee called on the Assad government to take serious steps towards reform, primarily in separating the legislative, executive and judicial authorities, applying political pluralism, providing more freedom and strengthening the rule of law. The Syrian communists also called for speeding up the adoption of national dialogue and creating a suitable atmosphere to ensure its success.