THE NEW WORKER

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 236rd March 2018


TURKS TAKE AFRIN

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

TURKISH FORCES have taken the Syrian Kurdish city of Afrin, which was abandoned by the Kurdish militia this week. The Turks and their Arab ‘Free Syrian Army’ auxiliaries now control most of what had been the western wing of ‘Rojava’ — the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Syria. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited a frontline area. meeting his soldiers and greeting civilians, in eastern Ghouta.

And Russia has warned the Americans not to launch a strike against Syrian forces as thousands of civilians pour out of the terrorist-held pockets in eastern Ghouta using safe corridors established by the Syrian army and the Russian peace-keeping forces. Turkish troops and their Arab auxiliaries entered Afrin unopposed on Sunday. The Kurdish YPG militia and many of the civilian population had already fled to the safety of Syrian government lines around Aleppo to avoid a massacre if the Turks had stormed what had been the major Kurdish stronghold in north-eastern Syria.

Turkish President Recep Erdoğan claimed that Turkey will take necessary steps to rebuild Afrin, rebuild the infrastructure and wipe out all traces of terrorism (a term he uses to describe the Kurdish militias in Syria and Turkey): “We are not there to occupy but to wipe out terror groups and to achieve peace in Afrin.” But few believe the Turks will be leaving Afrin in a hurry. The Rojavan militia has vowed to wage a guerrilla war against the Turkish occupation and their leaders try to apportion blame on everyone apart from themselves for the debacle. Trusting US imperialism was their biggest mistake. Although the Americans sent the Syrian Kurds arms and military advisors and provided them with air-support when they were fighting ISIS, they ceased to have any further use for them once ISIS was on the run. The Syrian Kurds were foolish to believe that Washington would guarantee their autonomy or ever put Kurdish interests above those of its NATO ally, Turkey.

Some of them even blame Russia and Syria for allowing Turkish war-planes to operate over what is still Syrian territory. But what they don’t say is that their leaders rejected the hand of friendship from Syria and refused to receive assistance from the Syrians or their Iranian and Russian allies.

Meanwhile the situation in eastern Ghouta has changed dramatically for the better as tens of thousands of civilians leave the terrorist enclaves through the humanitarian corridors, and more gunmen are negotiating evacuation terms or laying down their arms under the general amnesty of the Syrian government.

But the remnants of ISIS and al-Qaeda, whom many believe are controlled by the hidden hand of US imperialism, are determined to fight to the death. Many fear that they are planning new provocations including false-flag poison gas attacks to provide the pretext for direct American intervention.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has already openly called on the USA to abandon plans for a punitive strike against Syrian government forces to stave off the complete collapse of the terrorist gangs in eastern Ghouta. The Syrian army has now liberated some 70 per cent of the 100-square-km region consisting of several towns and farmlands to the east of the capital, Damascus.

Over 40,000 civilians have now fled the fighting. One of them dismissed imperialist claims that those who forces. Abdel Rahman Awad said that it was the Syrian Arab Army who “saved us after five years of torment”.

“When reaching the Syrian troops’ positions, we made phone calls to our relatives and friends. They were very surprised that we are still alive. It turns out that well-known channels such as Al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya have reported the [Syrian] Army had killed us and buried us in a mass grave, accusing the army and its allies of all possible crimes,” Awad said. He said that he and his family are safe and sound, rejecting all other reports as “lies”.

“All this is done in order to instil fear of the Syrian Army into the souls of all those who live in Eastern Ghouta,” Awad said.