Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Protests for Aleppo in Britain.

with 30 comments

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 Protesters march through London’s busiest high street demanding aid drops, ceasefire in east Aleppo.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of London on Saturday to voice their anger at the ‘inaction’ of the international community after reports of the humanitarian situation worsening in eastern Aleppo.

Activists from the Syria Solidarity Campaign and various other groups carried Syrian flags and banners that read “save Aleppo”, “Hand in hand with Aleppo” and “Enough with Assad” as a means of prompting international action for the people currently stranded inside the city.

More than two dozen police accompanied the rally as protesters marched through London’s Oxford street while thousands of shoppers were visiting the busy high street a week before the Christmas holidays, chanting “You are shopping, bombs are dropping”.

“The inaction and utter failure of the international community has been demonstrated by the massacres that have unfolded in east Aleppo,” said protester Zaki al-Kaf.

Al-Kaf spoke at the demonstration and told Middle East Eye that MPs had failed to fill the vacuum left by the late Jo Cox, who had campaigned tirelessly for the Syrian cause.

“Many MPs like Alison Mcgovern, who is now the chair of the parliamentary group on Syria, have done fantastic work but more needs to be done” said Zaki.

Evets took place across the country.

Huffington Post:

March For Aleppo: Thousands Join London Rally To ‘Save Aleppo’.

Thousands of people marched through the streets of London on Saturday to share their “extreme rage about the complete inaction of the international community” in face of the bloodshed taking place in Aleppo.

Activists carried Syrian flags and banners which read “save Aleppo”, “hand in hand with Aleppo” and “enough with Assad” as a means of prompting international action for the people currently stranded in the Syrian city.

The march was organised by the Syria Solidarity Campaign.

The event’s Facebook page reads: “Besieged Eastern #Aleppo is on the verge of falling to the Assad regime.

“Reports estimate about 98% of Eastern Aleppo is now under the control of the Assad regime and its allies.”

The event’s Facebook page urged supporters: “Join us to protest against the large-scale bombardments and targeting of civilians in Aleppo.

“There is a Holocaust ongoing and we urgently need the international community to take action to save lives.”

As the march headed through Picadilly Circus, demonstrators could be heard chanting “drop aid not bombs”.

Other signs along the march read “protect civilians” and “Aleppo’s the new Holocaust”.

 Rolling road blocks were in place across the capital to accommodate the protest.
The Aleppo evacuation was suspended on Friday after a report of shooting at a crossing point into the enclave by both sides of the conflict. Thousands were evacuated before the process was suspended.

An agreement was reached on Saturday to allow “humanitarian cases” to leave two besieged government-held Shiite villages in northwestern Syria, a step that would allow the resumption of civilian and rebel evacuations from eastern Aleppo which were suspended a day earlier, the Associated Press reports.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the evacuation of some 4,000 people, including wounded, from the villages of Foua and Kfarya was expected to start Saturday.

It later reported that 29 buses were heading toward the two villages to start the evacuation process, adding that insurgents in the area rejected allowing 4,000 people to leave and saying they will only allow 400 people to be evacuated.

Exeter (HC)

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Nottingham (PR)

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In France, this image of Syrian journalist Zaina Erhaim in the ruins of Aleppo, with a Je Suis Charlie placard, the Syrian rebels’ flag in the corner, has had, since it was distributed in the middle of the month, a big impact:

Written by Andrew Coates

December 19, 2016 at 1:09 pm

30 Responses

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  1. Paul Canning (@pauloCanning)

    December 19, 2016 at 1:34 pm

  2. Thanks Paul.

    I find it very moving that these people marched, bore witness, with their sorrow in the midst of the Christmas shoppers.

    I can hardly tell you what people feel about the Charlie Placard.

    Andrew Coates

    December 19, 2016 at 1:43 pm

  3. On Andrew Ashdown in that report.

    “A group of British peers and priests has been accused of “sitting down for a chat with a mass murderer” after they met Bashar al-Assad, the leader of Syria’s regime, in Damascus.

    The delegation saw Mr Assad even as his forces and their Russian allies were re-imposing a state of siege on rebel-held eastern Aleppo, supported by air strikes that have killed thousands of civilians.

    The delegation included Rev’d Michael Nazir-Ali, formerly the Anglican Bishop of Rochester, along with two crossbench peers, Baroness Cox and Lord Hylton, as well as the Rev’d Andrew Ashdown, an Anglican vicar.

    September 2016.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/05/british-peers-and-priests-accused-of-chatting-with-mass-murderer/

    Andrew Coates

    December 19, 2016 at 6:24 pm

  4. Andrew Coates

    December 19, 2016 at 6:33 pm

  5. The western media reporting of east Aleppo has been appalling, designed for useful idiots to call for more British military intervention. Out of interest where are the so called White Helmets hopped it to Idlib province with Al Nusra? Civil wars are the ghastliest the more so when outside powers become involved as has happened in Syria. The UK left intervenes at its own peril not least because of the lack of reliable information coming from both sides. In east Aleppo the head choppers murdered western journalist for a reason, so they would dictate media coverage.

    Mick Hall

    December 19, 2016 at 7:47 pm

  6. are you asking for western intervention in Syria? to help the so called revolution?
    what a fraud!

    Dean

    December 20, 2016 at 1:14 am

  7. Any news of which UK socialist organizations took part in these protests?

    jschulman

    December 20, 2016 at 2:01 am

  8. … “take action” … “international action” … Please – can someone be specific? *What* action should be taken *by whom*? *How* will it help? *What* and *who* will it help? And what is the *aim* of this “action”? To save civilians? To end the war? To reverse the tide and help the anti-Assad forces win, Libya-style? Or is the whole thing a futile exercise in moralistic posturing on the part of western liberals who like to feel important?

    Francis

    December 20, 2016 at 11:47 am

  9. You could say the same thing about the protests on many foreign issues Francis, from Israel and Palestine onwards.

    I do not notice anybody complaining about moral protests on that issue, despite the fact that the UK has no power in the conflict.

    Of course you could also say that the StWC is calling, by not saying anything but protesting against Western involvement is – objectively as they used to say – for letting Assad get in with it.

    For those concerned there are demands for aid to be dropped:

    Syria Petition Calling For Aid Drop To Be Sent To Aleppo And Starving Cities Backed By 120,000 People

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/syria-petition-aid-drop-aleppo-starving-cities-backed-120000-people_uk_5852632de4b0d06b988cdf47

    Andrew Coates

    December 20, 2016 at 12:42 pm

  10. You can protest to take a stand, that’s fine.You can protest to demand something specific, either of the UK government, or of some other government or body, if you think they may listen. But just protesting to demand ‘action’ is pointless, unless you are gearing up for a follow-up protest against ‘betrayal’ when the ‘action’ fails to materialise.

    Francis

    December 20, 2016 at 3:47 pm

  11. The action demanded would seem obvious to me. First and foremost, emergency medical and food supplies which is very specific (Francis) if this requires drones to do the job or agreement with the Russians to allow UN food drops whatever. Any demonstrations that ramp up demand for these possibilities to be explored are very much needed.

    Dave

    December 20, 2016 at 6:05 pm

  12. Sigh. Numerous actions which can be taken courtesy Syria Solidarity UK http://www.syriauk.org/2016/12/todays-emergency-debate-on-aleppo-what_13.html

    That this is not known I don;t know whether to put down to ignorance or willfulness.

    Of course any aid response which might involved UK armed forces is going to be ‘intervention’ for some …

    I see Mick Hall has arrived at full-on conspiracism.

    Paul Canning (@pauloCanning)

    December 20, 2016 at 6:12 pm

  13. Syria Solidarity UK and suchlike groups are part of the problem, not part of the solution. They are campaigning to garner support for one of the belligerent parties in the civil war, presumably in the hope of turning the tide against Assad’s forces. The most likely result of that is for the civil war to drag on even longer, with yet more sieges, mass slaughters, waves of refugees and all that. It seems highly unlikely that the insurgency could ever “win”, but with enough aid it could keep the war going indefinitely.

    The “Syrian Revolution”, whatever that was, is lost irretrievably. There is not the slightest chance of the “democratic, pluralist and united Syria” of SSUK’s fantasies. Civil wars do not lead to that sort of society. They create militarised societies dominated by men with guns. The only question here is whether the outcome is one faction of men with guns (a dictatorship) or several rival factions (warlordism).

    Francis

    December 20, 2016 at 6:46 pm

  14. While I am sceptical about the Syrian revolution, and very very sceptical the forces now in play against Assad, I can’t help remembering that apart from Assad, there is the theocratic blood-stained regime of Iran at work here, and this lot,

    “The key goal of Russia’s military intervention in Syria was to shore up the regime at a time when the latter had suffered very heavy losses since last summer. Assad himself acknowledged in July the regime’s inability to keep holding parts of the territory it had been holding until then. Moscow’s intervention aims at preventing the collapse of the regime and enable it to reconquer the territory it lost last summer. This is the basic and primary goal of the Russian intervention.

    There is a second goal, however, which goes far beyond Syria, and translates in the fact that Russia sent to Syria a sampling of its air force and launched cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea. This looks like the “Gulf moment” of Russian imperialism. I mean that Putin is doing at a reduced scale what the United States did in 1991 when it showcased its advanced weaponry against Iraq in the first Gulf war. That was a way of saying to the world: “See how powerful we are! See how efficient is our weaponry!” And it was a major argument for the reassertion of US hegemony at a crucial historic moment. The Cold war was finishing – the year 1991 turned out to be the Soviet Union’s last year, as you know well. US imperialism needed to reassert the function of its hegemony in the global system.

    What Putin is doing now with this show of force is saying to the world: “We Russians also have an advanced weaponry, we can also deliver, and actually we are a more reliable ally than the US”. Putin’s macho bullying contrasts a lot with the Obama administration’s timid attitude in the Middle East over recent years. Putin is winning friends in the region. He developed relations with Egypt’s counter-revolutionary autocrat Sisi, and with the Iraqi government. Iraq and Egypt are two states which were regarded as being part of the US sphere of influence, and yet both of them are supporting the Russian intervention, both of them are now buying weapons from Russia and developing military and strategic relations with Moscow.”

    Gilbert Achcar. October 2015.

    http://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article4259

    Andrew Coates

    December 20, 2016 at 6:58 pm

  15. Achcar is probably not far wrong in his assessment of Putin’s motives…

    Francis

    December 20, 2016 at 7:10 pm

  16. @pplswar

    December 20, 2016 at 9:44 pm

  17. Moscow has always had a close relationship with the Assads, the father with the Soviet Union the son with Putin, the same with the post 1979 Iran.Without that relationship Hezbollah would never have emerged as the main Shi’a force in Lebanon as the Assads would have killed it at birth.

    I feel we need to be pragmatic, the Assad gov is the last secular government in the region and whether we like it or not we have to take that into account when it comes to deciding about events in Syria.

    There is no need for airdrops into east Aleppo now and there probably never was. Half of the city had been controlled by Islamic fighters and thus they have also controlled all food which enters their areas, whether in UN convoys or through their own supply lines. Why then did they not control the rationing of food, why as their media claimed and the British media reported as fact, were food prices allowed to be sky high. Food was rationed in Britain during WW2 but basic food stuff were kept at an affordable level. Surely we need to ask why this did not happen at any time in east Aleppo.

    Mick Hall

    December 20, 2016 at 9:50 pm

  18. Call me Elsie but I have a vision of Francis at some 30s soirée: “Spain? My dear, but we have all moved on. Come Nancy, I spy an eclair.”

    As for Mick. No Russia Today cheques rolling in? F*cking liberty.

    Paul Canning (@pauloCanning)

    December 20, 2016 at 10:18 pm

  19. Maybe Paul. But somehow I don’t have a vision of you risking your own neck by joining the International Brigades. Heroism is outsourced these days.

    Francis

    December 20, 2016 at 11:21 pm

  20. Such venom Francis. And so original! Look, I would love to engage in a ‘scar-off’ – whose is bigger than whose – but frankly m’dear, am bored. I already get my nihilism from Roger McCarthy, and he’s witty with it. So other suppliers are, sorry, not needed. You can see yourself out.

    Paul Canning (@pauloCanning)

    December 21, 2016 at 12:00 am

  21. Sorry Paul – I thought this was Andrew’s blog. My mistake, clearly. After you…

    Francis

    December 21, 2016 at 1:04 am

  22. Paul, why not deal with the issues Francis and I raised, especially about sky high food prices when east Aleppo was under the control of islamic militias, do you wish see the head chopping fanatics in power in Syria, if not then who do you support. We must do something is not a strategy, or a tactic, it’s a cry of impotence.

    Mick Hall

    December 21, 2016 at 12:57 pm

  23. For reference:

    Andrew Coates

    December 21, 2016 at 1:09 pm

  24. “sky high food prices when east Aleppo”

    Food prices skyrocketed when the regime — in violation of international law and basic human decency — cut off access to food, water, and medicine to the civilian population. How come you don’t blame the regime for causing the shortage that led to the price spike?

    @pplswar

    December 21, 2016 at 4:11 pm

  25. If we are to understand what actually took place in East Aleppo we need to ask these questions, people like you have wilfully regurgitated the head-choppers propaganda as if it were fact. I’m well aware of the despicable acts carried out by members of the Assad’s regime, but you refuse to even consider those you support have carried out equally dastardly acts whether in Syria or elsewhere.

    As to your faith in international law and Courts, I would have a little more faith in them if Bush and Blair had been put in the dock at the international court at the Hague. As they were not the justice doled out is little more than victors justice. While some may have deserved their fate it doesn’t make it justice when others equally guilty of war crimes get a keep out of jail free pass.

    In all probability Assad will also join that elitist, disreputable club. What a world we live in.

    Mick Hall

    December 21, 2016 at 6:29 pm

  26. Martin Thomas, on the Workers Liberty website, writes:

    Maybe a thousand protesters gathered at short notice outside 10 Downing Street on 13 December to protest against Putin’s and Assad’s bombardment of Aleppo.

    Many of the protesters may have been Syrians living in London, but visibly the majority were not: they were people of all backgrounds who had rallied to protest against the atrocities and solidarise with the civilian population of Aleppo.

    There were placards that suggested UK military action in Syria, such as “No-Bomb Zone Now”, but the main focus was on non-military aid for the civilian population.

    I asked a film crew who were doing short interviews with protesters what answers they’d got to their question about what they expected to achieve in terms of UK government action, and the film crew replied that most people had answered: nothing.

    They were protesting to show that the atrocities in Aleppo would not pass with a complaisant shrug, and so that Putin and Assad and their friends in the West could not think that their crimes go unmarked. Such protests are doubly important now, with the Putin-friendly Donald Trump about to become president of the USA.

    As far as I could observe, no left-wing group was there apart from Workers’ Liberty.

    Jim Denham

    December 22, 2016 at 9:49 am

  27. Mick doesn’t explain why he supports the Assad regime starving civilians. i guess he doesn’t have a good reason which makes sense because there is no good or defensible reason to starve civilians.

    @pplswar

    December 22, 2016 at 7:08 pm

  28. Thanks, Jim. There are other groups with good positions re: Syria — rs21, Socialist Resistance, maybe others. Shame they weren’t there, at least not openly.

    jschulman

    December 23, 2016 at 1:05 am


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