The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 2 March 2018

Terrorists continue to shell Damascus

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

NATO-backed terrorists are continuing to shell Damascus in defiance of a United Nations (UN) truce that came into effect on Tuesday. The Nusra Front militia and its allies are also targeting a safe-corridor set up to allow civilians trapped in the rebel-held Ghouta enclave to escape so that they can continue to use them as human shields. Meanwhile Russia has vetoed a British-drafted resolution at the UN that accused Iran of violating the UN arms embargo on Yemeni rebels. Iran’s Foreign ministry welcomed the veto calling in a defeat for the USA.

The Kremlin says it will continue to work for the implementation of the truce amidst unconfirmed reports that Russia has sent Su-57 stealth fighters to beef up its air support for the Syrian air-force and send a clear warning to the imperialists against further provocations and escalations.

Last weekend the UN Security Council, including Russia, voted for a 30-day ceasefire in Syria. The Security Council unanimously urged all parties to the conflict to stop all hostilities immediately and adhere to a long-term humanitarian pause across Syria in order to ensure the safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid, as well as medical evacuation of those injured. But the truce specifically excludes all militias, such as the Nusra Front and ISIS, that are on the UN terrorist blacklist.

The 30-day ‘humanitarian pause’ came into effect on Tuesday, and the Syrian authorities together with the Russian Centre for Syrian Reconciliation created the conditions for opening the humanitarian corridor between Damascus and its suburban area for civilians in the Wafedin refugee camp. A mobile first-aid post was established near the corridor and coaches were prepared to transport civilians to the places of temporary stay. The reconciliation centre guaranteed the safety of all civilians, including the sick and wounded, who were ready to leave Eastern Ghouta. But only an hour and a half into the pause the Nusra Front began rocketing the corridor.

Addressing the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would continue to support the Syrian army in totally defeating the terrorist threat. “Now it is the turn to act for the militias entrenched there, who still continue shelling Damascus, blocking aid deliveries and the evacuation of those wishing to leave, as well as for their sponsors,” he said.

This week at least 29 civilians were killed in several US-led air-strikes on residential areas in al-Shaafa and Dharat Allouni villages. The number of those killed is expected to rise as dozens of people were also injured, some of whom are in critical condition. The London-based Airwars project, which tracks civilian deaths in US-led air-strikes, reported earlier this year that a total of 5,961 civilians had been killed as a result of such attacks in Iraq and Syria.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on 23rd November last year that 2,759 civilians, including 644 minors and 470 women, had been killed in US-led aerial attacks against civilian areas in Syria over the last 38 months.

The Americans and their NATO allies have been bombarding what they call ISIS positions inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorisation from the Syrian government nor a United Nations mandate.

The air-raids have on many occasions resulted in civilian casualties and failed to fulfil their declared aim of countering terrorism. The Syrian Foreign Ministry has on several occasions written to the UN, complaining that the US was flagrantly violating the sovereignty of Syria by targeting residential neighbourhoods.

This week Syria again called on US imperialism to end its illegal presence on Syrian soil, and denounced the Americans and their lackeys for massacring the Syrian people and supporting the remnants of the ISIS militia. The Syrian government said that the US-led coalition’s only goal is to prolong the crisis and undermine Syria’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. “The Syrian Arab Republic demands that the [UN] Security Counci

l shoulder its responsibility of preserving international peace and security and act immediately to stop the war crimes and the crimes against humanity committed by the coalition against the Syrian people,” the Syrian foreign ministry said.