Socialist Worker

‘Homs is under siege, but we are determined’

by Judith Orr
Issue No. 2290

Civilian casualties mount in Syria as Bashar al-Assad’s forces try to smash the revolutionary movement there.

Yet the movement has shown astonishing resilience.

Mounir Atassi is a Syrian civil rights activist and academic from Homs currently based in Scotland.

He spoke to Socialist Worker about the struggle and the “catastrophic” situation in his hometown of Homs.

Mounir said, “It’s very difficult to make contact with my family and friends in Homs.

“The internet is down. Phones and mobile networks are cut off. The regime is trying to stop all communications.

“There are shortages of food and medicine. People are really suffering.”

Mounir said that some feel so desperate that they have called for international help.

“People are under siege. In some places they are surrounded and there is no escape.

“The army is shooting anyone who tries to get out.”

Yet Mounir says most don’t want the West to intervene militarily.

He explained, “There is suspicion about the West’s motives for getting involved.

“There is a lot of hypocrisy. We have the experience of Iraq and of Libya.”

The West is using the plight of Syrians as an excuse to intervene in the region.

This is exposed by the West’s attitude to the revolt in Bahrain.

Maryam al Kharaja from the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights was at a 1,000-strong demonstration in solidarity with the Arab revolutions in London last week.

She told Socialist Worker, “For Western governments, Bahrain is the inconvenient revolution. None of them want us to succeed, because our government is on the right side of the West.

“The British government criticises Russia and China for selling arms to Syria, but it is still selling arms to Bahrain.”

After Russia and China vetoed a UN resolution on Syria two weeks ago, Western powers have changed tack.

They have set up the Group of Friends of Syria to coordinate their plans.

Despite all the hurdles, Mounir is optimistic. He said, “People have shown they are determined. There is no turning back now.”

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Article information

Tue 14 Feb 2012, 17:36 GMT
Issue No. 2290
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