The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 26th January 2018

Hands off Syria!

TURKISH tanks are rolling into Syria to drive the Kurds out of Afrin, a northern Syrian province freed by the Kurdish militias in the fight against ISIS three years ago. Turkish troops first entered Syria in August 2016 when they set up a buffer zone on Syrian soil to block the Kurdish drive to control the entire northern frontier.

The Turkish regime claimed that their action was aimed at driving ISIS out of the frontier zone — but its real purpose was to assist their Arab auxiliaries who call themselves the “Free Syrian Army” and to contain the Syrian Kurdish drive for autonomy which, they feared, would provide a safe-haven for their compatriots fighting a guerrilla war in eastern Turkey. In the end the Turks and their lackeys proved powerless to halt the complete liberation of Aleppo by the Syrian Arab Army; but they did succeed in driving a wedge between the eastern and western parts of the Kurdish autonomous zone in northern Syria. Now, faced with renewed armed resistance in Turkish Kurdistan, they want complete control of Syria’s border lands to crush the Kurds’ ‘Rojova’ zone and any dreams of autonomy or independence.

The United Nations (UN) has not authorised the operation and the Syrian government calls it an act of aggression. Turkish forces are shelling the villages and towns near Afrin, claiming the lives of scores of innocent people, injuring many others, displacing many families and causing huge material damage. Thousands of civilians have been forced to flee the fighting.

The UN has expressed its deep concern over Turkey’s ongoing operation in Afrin in northern Syria that has forced about 5,000 of people leave their homes. The international organisation voiced readiness to provide assistance to some 50,000 people in Afrin as well as to 30,000 displaced civilians.

The Stop the War movement is calling on “the British government to use all efforts to put pressure on Turkey to end the attack. It is important that the trade union movement and the anti-war and peace movement exert as much pressure as possible through protests, lobbying and campaigning. This is not in the interests of anyone who is suffering as a result of this seven year long war. All outside intervention must end now. Only the people of Syria can decide their future.”

Meanwhile, those on the pseudo-left who loudly proclaimed their support for the Kurdish struggle when it seemed to assist the broader aims of US imperialism in Syria are predictably silent in the face of Turkish aggression that has clearly been okayed in Washington.

The Turkish regime may dream about restoring their old empire in the Middle East but. at the end of the day. Turkey is just another dependency of US imperialism and the only hegemony in the Middle East that the Americans are going to support is their own. Syria, Iran and the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance have always stood in their way, and that’s why they are constantly targeted by the imperialists and their local Zionist and Arab lackeys.

Communists must stand by all the Syrian Arabs and Kurds fighting Turkish aggression. We are opposed to the ‘outside intervention’ of the imperialist powers and their Arab stooges. But most of all we defend the legitimacy of the elected popular front government of Bashar al Assad and its right to seek assistance from its friends and allies, such as the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran. That assistance has helped the Syrian army’s victorious drive to crush the terrorist gangs and restore democracy in Syria. And a Syria rid of terrorism will allow the people to again choose their own government and their own path in the future.