Socialist Worker

Syria - revolt threatened by West and Assad

by Simon Assaf
Issue No. 2297

The revolution in Syria has faced a brutal month as the military crackdown on cities and towns reaches increasingly bloody levels.

The revolution’s leadership in the Local Coordinating Committees (LCC) reports that up to 70 people die every day.

And tens of thousands of refugees are attempting to flee the country or find shelter in the capital Damascus.

Outside powers again threaten to hijack the uprising. The Western-backed Syrian National Council (SNC) and the “Friends of Syria” group are making demands on the revolutionary forces.

The LCC, groups of rebel soldiers who make up the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the revolution’s grassroots leadership are all being pushed into accepting an exile leadership.

But this leadership’s interests are not those of the revolution.

The SNC has received promises of aid and money from the West and its Arab allies, but this comes at a huge price.

The West, Arab states, Russia and China are pushing a United Nations peace plan calling for “dialogue” while attempting to steamroller the revolution into a compromise. This would see the regime remain in place.


If the repression silences the street, the influence of the SNC and the Friends of Syria can grow. But that is far from certain.

Mohamed Moaz coordinates the FSA in Damascus. “I’m the only one who watched [the Friends of Syria] conference in our neighbourhood, because there was no electricity and people don’t care,” he said.

Activists in northern Lebanon, who are part of the aid teams smuggling medical supplies into the country, told Socialist Worker that they have seen little evidence of SNC aid on the ground.

They said that many refugees complain bitterly that this money ends up in the pockets of corrupt SNC officials. And despite much hype of weapons flooding into the country, the rebel soldiers have run out of ammunition.

They are no match for the heavy weapons of the regime.

Despite the repression, protests among school children and women have grown as they step forward to fill the ranks of those who have fallen.

Over the weekend the regime claimed that it had crushed the rebellion and was now pushing for “reforms”.

But this declaration does not reflect the reality on the ground.

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has the initiative thanks to his brutal militias and loyal troops. But the neighbourhoods they are sent in to repress rise again once the troops have moved on.

The regime is now at war with working class suburbs of Damascus and Aleppo. There are growing numbers of demonstrations, some of them armed, in both cities. Areas once considered loyal to the regime have now joined the rebellion.


The growing anger at the repression has found its echo in the Palestinian refugee camps.

A demonstration on Palestine Land Day through Yarmouk camp in Damascus became an anti-regime protest.

Young Palestinians chanted support for the revolution and condemned the regime for daring to “speak in the name of Palestine”.

Palestinian camps in Lebanon are attempting to supply the rebels with much-needed arms and ammunition.

In response to growing attempts to label this revolution as a “sectarian plot”, revolutionaries and rebel soldiers are taking an oath to defend the unity of the country—“Syria is our sect”.

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Tue 3 Apr 2012, 18:39 BST
Issue No. 2297
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