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

Leave it to the Syrian people!

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

TURKISH TANKS are continuing to advance into the Kurdish-run Syrian province of Afrin but they are meeting fierce resistance from the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Kurdish militia the Turkish regime has vowed to crush. The Erdogan government has ordered a crack-down on anti-war reports, which it brands “fake news,” and some 150 people including journalists have been arrested in police raids across Turkey for spreading “propaganda” against the offensive on social media.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that the offensive, which began on Saturday, would continue until “the last terrorist” was killed. Over 6,000 Turkish troops, backed by the ‘Free Syrian Army’, a so-called ‘moderate’ rebel militia also supported by US imperialism, claim to have killed or wounded hundreds of Kurdish fighters, who until recently also enjoyed American support. But the YPG militia, which the Turks say is just an appendage of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which is fighting a guerrilla war in Turkish Kurdistan, claim to have knocked out several tanks and driven the invaders back in clashes over the last week.

Thousands of civilians have been forced to flee their homes following indiscriminate shelling of their villages and according to Syrian sources, two US military advisers attached to the Kurdish militia were killed during a Turkish air-raid on the town of Afrin.

Syria has condemned the Turkish aggression and the Iranians say that the presence of US and Turkish forces in Syria is illegal. Russia is urging all parties to show restraint and to respect the territorial integrity of Syria. The European Union’s proto-Foreign Minister, Federica Mogherini, also expressed deep concern over the Turkish aggression on Afrin, warning that this move might undermine the political process in Geneva to solve the crisis in Syria.

The Americans, whom Turkey has repeatedly slammed for arming the Syrian Kurds in the first place, also say they are concerned over the Erdogan government’s decision to resort to force on the grounds that it distracted from efforts to defeat ISIS and risked “exacerbating the humanitarian crisis.” But these are just weasel words for the benefit of the human rights gangs.

Earlier this month, the Americans were promoting an idea of a 30,000-strong ‘“border force’ established with help of the umbrella, and mainly Kurdish, ‘Syrian Defence Force’ (SDF) militia in northern Syria. But after talks with the Turks this was dumped in favour of supporting the “legitimate concerns” of Turkey.

On Monday the American foreign minister, Rex Tillerson, openly said that the USA wants to work with Turkey to create a kind of “security zone” in north-western Syria.

“So we’re in discussions with the Turks and some of the forces on the ground as well as to how we can stabilise this situation and meet Turkey’s legitimate concerns for their security,” Tillerson said.

This week the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) denounced the new Turkish military operation, which they said serves imperialist plans. The communist statement recalled that Syria has been drawn into a civil war, “triggered by the imperialist projects and activated almost all reactionary veins of the region.” The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s last military intervention was one of them.

The TKP said: “The military operation on the Syrian soil, started by the AKP government... had nothing to do with any national interest or security issue of Turkey.”

The Turkish communists said that the USA and their “allies” are a threat to Turkey as well as all the other peoples of the region, and it also pointed out that Turkey itself is an allied NATO member. The AKP government hypocritically “does not question the military existence of NATO in Turkey but argues about the threat in Syria.”

The Communist Party of Turkey called on the people of Turkey not to be “deceived by heroism or nationalist demagogy.” It said: “Syria must be cleared of imperialist projects, interest conflicts between big powers and the fundamentalist powers of the region. It is the Syrian people who will do this. That’s why we tell you, hands off Syria.”