Assad pledges to continue reforms and crush terror

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

THOUSANDS of Syrians packed Umayyad Square in the heart of Damascus on Wednesday to hear President Bashar al Assad pledge to continue with the ongoing reform process and his government’s determination to crush the terror gangs that are trying to plunge the country into anarchy.

Tens of thousands of Syrians, many draped in Syrian flags, cheered as their president said: “We trust the future, we put trust in you, and through you we will be victorious”, against the terrorists, who have stepped up their killings and suicide bombings in an effort to impress the Arab League observer team currently in the country.

In its first report the Arab League observer mission to Syria admitted that armed groups operate in many areas of the country. The mission’s leader, General Mohammad Mustafa al-Sudan Dhabi, presented the report ? along with photos, maps and related data — to the Ministerial Committee of the Arab League — covering the first two weeks of the observer mission’s work in Syria.

The Arab League, dominated by the oil princes and other Arab clients of US imperialism, has called on both the Syrian government and the armed groups to stop all forms of violence and urged the opposition to protest peacefully in order to facilitate the success of the observer mission in Syria.

Since the Arab League observers arrived on 22nd December, there have been three deadly terrorist attacks in Damascus with total of 70 dead and 209 injured, in addition to sabotage attacks against civilians, security forces and economic targets.

Earlier in the week President Assad told students: “The Arab League had failed for six decades to protect Arab interests. We shouldn’t be surprised it’s failed today.”

Speaking at Damascus University the Syrian leader said: “Regional and international sides have tried to destabilise the country?our priority now is to regain the security in which we basked in for decades, and this can only be achieved by hitting the terrorists with an iron fist.”

stoking fires

Meanwhile US imperialism’s regional ally, Turkey, is stoking the fires by calling for “international intervention” which is nothing more than an appeal for a Libyan-style Nato invasion.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose ruling Islamist party has covert links with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood responsible for much on the bloodshed, has called for international intervention in Syria to stave off an incipient civil war saying that he believes Turkey should take the lead in the move.

“The situation that has emerged there is right now heading toward a religious, sectarian and racial civil war. This must be stopped,” insisted Erdogan, adding that he believed a civil war in Syria would “pose a threat to us”.

But a large Russian naval flotilla led by an aircraft carrier has docked in the Syrian port of Tartus in a show of solidarity with the Assad government.

“The port call is aimed at bringing the two countries closer together and strengthening their ties of friendship,” Russian naval officer Vladimir Yakushin told the Syria media though the six-day visit is officially to replenish supplies at the Russian naval base in the Syrian port.