The Russian and US governments announced, on September 10th, an agreement on Syria, which supposes a cessation of hostilities between the Bashar al-Assad regime and the factions and rebel groups, since Monday 12th.
By Gabriel Huland and Fabio Bosco.
The effectiveness of the agreement is not at all guaranteed. The Syrian aviation bombed several regions of Aleppo on that same Monday, before the time the agreement would have effect, killing dozens of civilians in this neighborhood. In theory, the pact includes all the groups involved in the conflict, except for two: the self called Islamic State of Syria and The Levant (ISIL), also known as Daesh (Arabic acronym), and the group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (Front of the Conquest and The Levant) –formerly known as al-Nusra Front, the official branch of Al-Qaeda in the country-, considered as terrorist groups for both countries.
Apart from the cessation of hostilities, it foresees the creation of an information and operation centre of both powers, with the goal of exchanging information and coordinating the attacks to regions allegedly controlled by Daesh and Jabhar Fateh al-Sham.
The agreement takes place in the frame of an important advance of the regime, which got to evacuate Daraya (city on the outsides of Damasco, considered one of the most important rebel strongholds), and the regain of crucial zones in Damasco and Aleppo. In a recent visit to Daraya, together with his Ministers, Assad affirmed he was not thinking of resigning, and that he would “reunify” the country under his command, destroying all “terrorists” (term used by the dictator to refer to the opposition, be it military or civil).
After stating this defiant and grim words, he ordered to bomb several regions of the country and banned, during the first hours of “truce”, the entrance of humanitarian help to besieged regions of Aleppo (the calculation is of over 250.000 besieged civilians in this city).
Short time before, the rebels had retaken [control over] regions of Aleppo, and reopened the lines of provision to liberated zones of the regime, but the Syrian Army, with the support of the Russian Aviation, regained control.
Only during August, the regime killed over 500 civilians, and threw around 2000 barrels of explosives in neighborhoods of Aleppo and the region of Rif, hitting 5 schools, 8 hospitals and 3 operational centers of the White Helmets, civilian defense group which acts saving lives out of the rubble after the explosions.
The preferred zones by Assad’s deadly helicopters are the commercial and residential neighborhoods, as much as the agrarian lands. Besides, he used around 300 bombs of phosphorous in different point of the country. The toxic chlorine gas was also used twice last month. All this information is taken from a report of the Syrian Institute for Justice.
In an interview to the BBC, Faysal Mekdad, Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, declared the used of explosive barrels by the regime, widely documented by different sources, is a lie diffused by the “Occidental forces and the Gulf Countries” to destabilize the country. “The explosive barrels do not exist”, affirmed the Minister.
The agreement between the US and Russia does not look to bring peace to Syria, or to mitigate the drama of the hundreds of thousands of people in situation of extreme poverty and under life risk, but the exact opposite: it looks to strengthen and consolidate the positions recently conquered by the Syrian regime (supported by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah), and to defeat the revolution that resisted, although weak and with contradictions, to more than five years of complete isolation. The hypothesis of division of the country for the creation of different zones under the influence of different countries tends to be confirmed.
NO to the Turkish military intervention
Turkey participates indirectly of the Syrian conflict since its beginning. More than one million Syrian people crossed the borders of the country looking for asylum. Turkey went from being an ally of Assad to defend his removal as the pacific protests starting in 2011 became an armed conflict, and the situation got more complicated with the entrance of new extremist groups and fighters in the country, highly encouraged by Assad’s regime itself, to generate terror and defeat the transforming and revolutionary impetus of the protests.
Erdogan saw in the conflict an opportunity to strengthen his positions in the region and move forward towards his zones of influence. In fact, the Turkish lira is already being used in several regions of North Syria as the official coin. Turkey stopped collaborating with the Syrian dictatorship to approach the opposition, even allowing for the Commanders of the Free Syrian Army [FSA] to lead their operations from Turkey.
However, the “support” to the Syrian opposition was always formal, specially at the beginning, and it never advanced to weaponry and medicines delivery to the independent and secular brigades fighting against the Syrian Army. Turkey was part of the group “Friends of Syria”, encouraged by France, which was once an attempt by part of the great world powers of controlling and leading the transition in the country, as Assad’s fall seemed, back then, imminent.
On the other hand, there are strong indications that Turkey allowed, through the softening of the border control, the entrance of Muslim fighters who were to join Daesh, besides buying oil to the terrorist group for prices much below the market. Daesh played a vital role for Turkey by acting like an overflow basin to the advance of Kurdish forces led by the PYD, party linked to the Turkish PKK.
This “indirect participation” attitude in the conflict changed recently with the entrance of the Turkish Army to Syria, on August 24th, aiming to take control out of ISIL, in Yarabulus city, in the Syrian-Turkish border. The intervention was through tanks, planes and Special Forces of the army, besides the support, including finances and weaponry, to Syrian military groups. They took several cities along the border, attacking not only the terrorist group but the Kurdish forces of the PYD too.
The direct participation of Turkey in the conflict created a problem for the US, as the PYD is one of its main allies in the region, but Turkey makes part of the NATO, and plays a determinant role currently, by securing the flux of Syrian refugees to Europe. The agreed truce between US and Russia certainly always has to do also with this new element in the conflict.
The interference of any military power in the Syrian revolution has to be rejected. Syrian has become a huge board were several countries dispute among each other the influence in Middle East. US, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, among others, are financing groups and sending weapons and soldiers to Syria. It is a true genocide of public knowledge. However, none of these countries truly acts to mitigate the suffering of the people. All of them only think of their national and economic interests. The only possible, viable solution is the military defeat of the Syrian regime, and for that it is necessary to arm the rebel groups fighting against Bashar al-Assad and against Daesh, the two main active counter-revolutionary forces in this conflict.
The transition plan presented by the Syrian Opposition
The Syrian opposition, joint in the HNC [High Negotiation Committee] presented a transition plan in Syria that foresees six months of negotiation with the regime, a year and a half period of transition, elections supervised by the UNO and the approval of a new Constitution.
It seems to be a plan made with the best intention, but unfortunately it is not. First, because it is a completely unviable plan, given that Damasco has said many times already it will not negotiate with the “terrorists”. Second, because the HNC has none of very few influence over the groups that act on Syrian field, which are some kind of puppets of the US, the UK and Saudi Arabia. Finally, because the plan does not recognize the right of self-determination of the Kurdish people, and insists on an only, unified Syria: the same speech of the Syrian regime on this regard.
On the other hand, and to complicate the situation even more, there are very serious problems with the main Kurdish party, the PYD, supported by the US and the EU. It is undeniable they play an important role in the liberation of Kurdish territories, but they do it in an authoritarian way, not allowing any kind of difference with their leadership, and allying, if it is convenient to them, with any one to reach their immediate goals.
They made alliance with Assad at some point, they receive support of the US and the EU, they align with Free Syrian Army brigades when they need to, but they perform ethnic cleansings when they conquer a city, expelling the Arabs, and repressing the groups that go against their policies.
To defeat Assad is the vital condition to bring peace to the country
We must reaffirm the main responsible of the barbarianism Syria has become is the bloody regime of Bashar al-Assad. As long as this genocide remains in power, there is no political way out. It is more than five years already of explosive barrels, chemical weapons, siege to entire populations, massive detentions, rapes, tortures and media manipulation.
This has to end now, and for that it is necessary to defend the immediate fall of Assad and the surrender of arms, not only light arms as they are doing but missile shields and other heavy weaponry, for the rebel groups to defend themselves from the Syrian helicopters and the Russian jets.
On the other hand, we reject the military interventions of the US, Russia, France, Turkey, Iran and other involved countries in the Syrian conflict. All of them are accomplices of Assad’s regime and ISIL. They are all together to defeat the people’s revolution for justice, democracy and dignity.
We must also demand the entrance of humanitarian help to all corners of the country currently suffering permanent siege for over five years.
Translation: Sofía Ballack.