Turkish agents seized in Syria

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

IRANIAN warships have docked at the Syrian port of Tarsus in a show of solidarity with the beleaguered Arab republic battling against a Nato-backed revolt and a vicious imperialist economic blockade.

British, European and American imperialist leaders are gathering in Tunis this week to co-ordinate their campaign with the oil princes and the reactionary Muslim Brotherhood to bring down Syria’s Baathist-led popular front government.

Russia and China, which vetoed an imperialist attempt to push through a Libya-style mandate for invasion at the UN Security Council last month, have again publicly stressed their opposition to western interference this week. And a leading Israeli newspaper reports that more than 40 Turkish intelligence officers working with the Syrian rebels have been arrested by the security forces and the Syrian government is demanding that Turkey cease supplying arms to the rebels in return for their release.

According to Haaretz (The Land) the Turkish agents have admitted that they were trained by Israeli intelligence “to carry out bombings to undermine the country’s security”. One of them also apparently claimed that the Israelis were training the “Free Syria Army” and Al Qaeda fanatics to fight the Syrian army.

The report, published last weekend, says that the Syrians have told the Turks that their agents will only be freed when all the rebel defectors in Turkey are sent home and all Turkish military and financial support to the Syrian rebels ends.

Russia has declined to take part in the imperialist sponsored “Friends of Syria” meeting in Tunisia this week. Russian Foreign Ministry official Alexander Lukashevich said: “Russia has a lot of questions about the meeting which several Syrian opposition groups have been invited for, but representatives of the Syrian government have not, which means that the interest of the majority of the Syrian people who support the authorities of their country are not being represented.”

Lukashevich pointed out that this meeting wouldn’t help starting a national dialogue as its organisers claim. He called on the international community to act as friends of the entire Syrian people, and not just one part. “It looks like an attempt to form some kind of international coalition like it was with the setting-up of a ‘contact group’ for Libya,” Lukashevich said.

Meanwhile Syria is pressing ahead with plans for a referendum on Sunday for a new constitution. The referendum, which would lead to a general election within 90 days, is part of the government’s reform programme drawn up to meet the legitimate demands on the street for comprehensive democratic reforms.

The Syrian Communist Party (Unified), one of the two communist parties in the ruling National Progressive Front, had called on “all patriotic, nationalist, leftwing , democratic and secular forces” to “unite their efforts to find a solution for the crisis of our homeland on the basis of a political solution that can put Syria on the verge of becoming a democratic as well as pluralistic society under the sovereignty of law. The road leading to this solution is dialogue only dialogue helps us achieve this goal”

But the Syrian communists condemn the “armed groups which refuse and have no interest in finding a solution. Those groups have loyalties to foreign imperialist circles which provide them with money, weapons, personnel and mass media. They call for foreign imperialist — American and European — as well as reactionary Arab intervention for the purpose of destroying and dividing Syria.

“The battle is not against the regime only, as they claim, it is battle to erase Syria and have it turned into another Libya. Such a mission is not achievable even if all imperialist forces in the world have joined forces to have it achieve.”