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Posts Tagged ‘Syria

Nazzareno Tassone: Hero and Martyr.

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Nazzareno Tassone: Hero and Martyr. 

An Edmonton man killed fighting ISIS in Syria vowed to do his best before heading into his final battle, despite poor equipment, airstrike attacks and seeing friends die in explosions.

From here,

That’s according to social media messages shared by a friend the 24-year-old fighter regularly confided in while overseas.

Mike Webster last heard from Nazzareno Tassone on Nov. 12, 2016.

Tassone, who left Edmonton in June to join the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG), told Webster at the time he was heading to Raqqa, Syria, in two days, according to messages in a conversation posted on Facebook.

“Will do my best,” he wrote to W

Will do my best,” he wrote to Webster, a former reservist who lives in Brantford, Ont. “Hopes are low.”

Nazzareno Tassone’s last message to Mike Webster before he was killed in an ISIS attack on Dec 21.

On Tuesday, a YPG statement hailed Tassone as a hero and martyr killed in action in Raqqa on Dec 21.

Fellow YPG soldiers have announced plans on Facebook to commemorate his memory and sacrifice in Ottawa on Monday morning, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Their post offers additional details surrounding the death of Tassone, also referred to by his Kurdish name, Agir Ararat, who was killed along with British volunteer Ryan Lock.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

January 5, 2017 at 4:25 pm

Posted in Anti-Fascism, Human Rights, Syria

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Protests for Aleppo in Britain.

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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

Left Solidarity with the Syrian People.

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Father Christmas, when you visit from the heavens, with your millions of toys, don’t forget my little stockings, filled with blood. (Nouveau parti anticapitaliste)

Not everybody follows the Morning Star:

Solidarité avec la lutte du peuple syrien.

Face à la guerre sans fin du régime Assad et de ses alliés contre le peuple syrien, face à la volonté croissante des puissants de liquider les aspirations démocratiques de la révolution syrienne, il faut réaffirmer notre soutien à la lutte du peuple syrien pour la démocratie, la justice sociale et l’égalité, contre toutes les formes de confessionnalisme et de racisme. Pour cela, il faut en premier lieu arrêter la guerre, qui ne cesse de créer des souffrances terribles, empêche le retour des réfugiéEs et déplacéEs internes, et ne profite qu’aux forces contre-­révolutionnaires issues des deux bords.

Facing the endless war of the Assad regime and its allies against the Syrian people, faced with the growing will of the world’s powers to liquidate the democratic impulses of the Syrian Revolution, we have to reaffirm our support for the Syrian people for democracy, social justice and equality, against all forms of confessionalism and racism. For that to be achieved a first step is ending the war, to bring to a halt the terrible suffering, the barrier to the return of refugees and those internally displaced, and which only fuels counter-revolutionary forces from both sides.

Socialist Worker (USA)

The counterrevolution crushes Aleppo

The Syrian regime and its Russian ally are in the last barbaric stages of an onslaught against Aleppo. Ashley Smith analyzes the consequences of the rebel stronghold’s fall.

Internationally, the left must reckon with its failure to unanimously support the Syrian Revolution, and it needs to re-learn how to combine opposition to all forms of imperialism with solidarity with revolution from below.

 The Stop the War Coalition has declined to follow calls for solidarity with the Syrian Revolution, or, express specific opposition to the taking of Aleppo.

This is their response:

Aleppo Debate: MPs In Denial Once Again  WRITTEN BY LINDSEY GERMAN ON 14 DECEMBER 2016.

“Lindsey German: ‘Every time they get the chance, MPs rush to promote further intervention and to justify past ones'”

We were right to oppose intervention then, and we are now. The people of Aleppo are suffering from a war which can have no winners. It has destroyed much of the country.

We should be calling for an end to the war, with a ceasefire and attempt at a political solution, an end to all outside intervention on whatever side, and for humanitarian aid to those who need it. We should also allow Syrian refugees into Britain, something these hypocritical MPs have no intention of doing.

It hardly needs adding that German talks of a “war” without naming who is waging it in Aleppo. 

************

This is a really good round up:

LEFTIST GROUPS ON THE SYRIAN CIVIL WAR.

Also see:  Why I will no longer write for the Morning Star Rabbil Sikdar.

This is the humanitarian war crime of our time, a genocide that we watched live on television Facebook for years — and we did nothing. We have witnessed ethnic cleansing, repeated breaking of ceasefires and remorseless ruthlessness towards civilian population. The Syrian resistance against a fascist dictator desperately needed solidarity from the international community, and especially the left.

Some gave it; I’ve seen some fantastic leftist activists bravely holding everyone to account; Oz Katerji, Idrees Ahmad and James Bloodworth being some of them. The late Jo Cox was a strong supporter of the inspirational White Helmets.

But how did the Morning Star respond? They called the near fall of Aleppo a ‘liberation’. What was genocide was seen as liberation by this socialist newspaper. Rather than backing down, they doubled down instead. For the past year the Star have led a horribly pro-Assad line, painting the rebels as Jihadists, pouring suspicion over established facts regarding Assad’s war crimes. They continuously echoed propaganda emanating from Russia, unequivocally supporting the Moscow line. Even as Russia and Assad rained destruction, bombing civilians, destroying hospitals and every emergency shelter — the Star continuously chose to support them.

..

I loved writing for the Morning Star because there were some good things to it. It did give a voice to the disadvantaged and voiceless often. But not the Syrian ones. My three editors were two women and a black man, the first black sports editor in the UK and one of the main reasons I continued writing at the paper by the end (I had more or less switched to sports content). As a liberal left-wing working class British Muslim, the Star gave me a platform to describe the world as I saw it through my own eyes. To talk about the racism, inequality and other vital issues. But they have betrayed the children of Aleppo. The blood and tears of the people of Aleppo did not matter to them. I’m not going to be writing for the paper while they spout disgusting Kremlin propaganda.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 15, 2016 at 12:54 pm

Morning Star Hails Alepo ‘Liberation’.

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Galloway has added his own unique claim that ISIS was in Aleppo…..

This is  the latest, a careful and sober report of what’s happening.

Asma Ajroudi. Al Jazeera.

As the Syrian government forces, backed by allies, inch closer to a decisive victory in the ravaged rebel stronghold of east Aleppo, t he impending fall of the city to regime forces would be the biggest setback for rebels since the conflict broke out in 2011.

It could also mark the start of a wider military shift that sets the course of the war in the Syrian regime’s favour.

In less than a month, Syrian troops, with unfettered Russian air support, were able to recapture 90 percent of the eastern part of Aleppo. On Monday, the Syrian army claimed that 98 percent of east Aleppo was in the hands of regime forces.

Reports also indicate a massive exodus of people to either remaining rebel-held districts or government-controlled areas in the western part of Aleppo. The Russian Defence Ministry claimed that 13,346 civilians had left rebel-held areas in the past 24 hours, and 728 rebels laid down their arms and surrendered.

The United Nations human rights office had warned on Friday that hundreds of men have “gone missing” after crossing into regime-controlled areas of Aleppo as Russian and Syrian air strikes continue to pound the city.

The Independent reports,

UN chief warns of ‘atrocities against large number of civilians’ in Aleppo.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has raised alarm over “reports of atrocities against a large number of civilians, including women and children” in Aleppo, his spokesman said.

Syria’s army, loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, are reportedly close to capturing all of east Aleppo which has been a rebel stronghold in the country’s civil war.

Residents in the besieged areas of the city have described the situation as “doomsday”, with many unable to flee the fighting.

Le Monde carries this as its lead-story:

Syrie : l’ONU alerte sur des exécutions sommaires commises dans Alep par des forces pro-Assad

Le commissariat de l’ONU aux droits de l’homme s’appuie sur plusieurs témoignages en provenance de la partie est d’Alep, qui subit une terrible offensive depuis quatre semaines.

 

It is extremely unwise to talk of ‘liberation’ in these conditions – to say the least.

The French left group Ensemble says, Solidarité avec le peuple syrien, avec son combat pour la paix, la justice et la liberté !

  • L’arrêt immédiat de tous les bombardements et la levée des sièges des villes. ( An immediate stop to bombing, and raising the siege of cities and towns).
  • Une mobilisation internationale pour apporter une aide humanitaire massive aux populations. (World-wide efforts to bring humanitarian aid to the Syrian people).
  •  Le départ de Syrie de toutes les armées et milices étrangères.(All foreign armies and militias should leave Syria.)

Written by Andrew Coates

December 13, 2016 at 1:02 pm

Yazidi women win EU Sakharov Prize.

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Nadia Murad.

This is profoundly moving:

Sakharov prize: Yazidi women win EU freedom prize. (BBC).

Two Yazidi women who escaped sexual enslavement by so-called Islamic State (IS) in Iraq have won Europe’s top human rights award, the Sakharov prize.

Nadia Murad Basee and Lamiya Aji Bashar were among thousands of Yazidi girls and women abducted by IS militants and forced into sexual slavery in 2014.

But both survived and now campaign for the Yazidi community.

The freedom of thought prize is awarded annually in memory of Andrei Sakharov, a Soviet scientist and dissident.

Guy Verhofstadt, who leads the liberal ALDE group in the European Parliament, described the winners as “inspirational women who have shown incredible bravery and humanity in the face of despicable brutality”.

“I am proud that they have been awarded the 2016 Sakharov Prize,” he added.

Tens of thousands of Yazidis were forced to flee their homes after IS fighters took the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar in August 2014.

Thousands of women and girls were treated as “spoils of war” and openly sold in slave markets to IS militants. They were separated from the men and boys, many of whom were shot dead.

The Islamist slavers and  genociders have not gone away or been brought to justice.

U.N. investigators said in a report in June that Islamic State is committing genocide against the Yazidis in Syria and Iraq to destroy the religious community of 400,000 people through killings, sexual slavery and other crimes.

Such a designation, rare under international law, would mark the first recognized genocide carried out by non-state actors, rather than a state or paramilitaries acting on its behalf.

Reuters.

October the 22nd:Dozens of Yazidi women enslaved by ISIS moved from Mosul, group says. (CNN).

Dozens of Yazidi women captured and enslaved by ISIS in 2014 have been moved from the Iraqi city of Mosul to Syria, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The monitoring group and US military officials have said ISIS militants are fleeing Mosul and heading for Raqqa, Syria, the de facto capital of ISIS, as Iraqi-led forces push to free the key Iraqi city from the terror group.

Dozens of ISIS families have already arrived in Raqqa, the observatory said.

Ethnic cleansing by ISIS has displaced, killed and enslaved hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Yazidis, members of an ancient ethnic and religious minority. Modern-day Iraq is the traditional homeland of the Yazidis.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 27, 2016 at 11:48 am

Will the left hear the cries from Aleppo?

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London, Saturday.

Will the left hear the cries from Aleppo?

Syrian solidarity activists should therefore go and make the case in defense of the original uprising against the Syrian regime and Russia at, for example, forums put on by the U.S. Peace Council, which is currently touring apologists for Assad. We can organize debates about Syria and Palestine at political conferences, and challenge the views put forward by Blumenthal and Khalek in left publications and websites.

This attitude of fighting to win the debate is important. We have to win the left to a genuine anti-imperialism that opposes not just the U.S. empire, but its rivals (and sometime collaborators) as well. As revolutionary socialist Eamonn McCann put it so well in a speech in the Legislative Assembly in Northern Ireland, we must protest American imperialism’s crimes in Iraq, Yemen and beyond, while also challenging Russian imperialism in Syria.

Finally, and most importantly, we must stand in solidarity with genuine liberation struggles from below, regardless of which imperial camp they are challenging. Our slogan is neither Washington, nor Moscow, nor Beijing, nor Damascus, nor Tehran, nor Riyadh, but self-determination for oppressed nations and international socialism.

From Socialist Worker.

No, not the UK Socialist Worker of the SWP, but the US Socialist Worker of the International Socialist Organization.

This is only one contribution to a very serious debate taking place on the entire  US Left about these issues.

One could begin with one important and  latest contribution:  The numbers game in East Aleppo by Louis Proyect.

In the UK Socialist Resistance have published this: Syria – calling for an end to intervention is not nearly enough

The Alliance for Workers’ Liberty republishes this: What’s wrong with “Stop the War”?

 

Written by Andrew Coates

October 23, 2016 at 11:53 am

Stop the War Coalition Opposes ‘Outside’ Help to Defeat ISIS in Mosul.

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StWC Opposes Outside Help to Defeat Genocidal ISIS.

Iraqi-led forces have surrounded a Christian town in an attempt to liberate it from ISIS control, but they are facing fierce resistance, exchanging heavy gunfire with the militants, a paramilitary general told CNN.

The operation in the town of Qaraqosh by Iraqi forces, Peshmerga fighters and a Christian paramilitary group is the latest in an aggressive push toward the city of Mosul by a coalition of around 94,000 people, aimed at unshackling the strategic city from more than two years of brutal ISIS control.

Part of Qaraqosh has already been liberated, according to General Amr Shamoun, who belongs to the Christian militia involved in the attack.

 More on CNN. 

Inside Mosul: IS threatens US and spreads terror among civilians

As Iraqi forces close in on Mosul, IS targets suspected spies and is believed to be using civilians as human shields.

Sky.

Meanwhile in another universe.

StWC Statement on Mosul (17th of October).

The misery of the people of the Middle East continues. We have condemned the bombing of Aleppo by Russia and that of Yemen by Saudi Arabia. Now there is the battle over Mosul in which both US and UK planes will be used for air strikes. While no one can support the brutal behaviour of ISIS, and all would welcome its disappearance, more aerial bombardment of civilians will not help to bring about peace and stability in Iraq. Indeed, the offensive on Mosul which began today is in danger of creating a grave humanitarian crisis as hundreds of thousands try to flee the city.

This is the key part of the statement,

The US and UK governments do not have the interests of the people at heart, but are concerned with their own strategic interests and control of the resources in the region, in the case of Mosul oil. Stop the War opposes all the outside interventions by foreign powers and all the bombing being carried out from whatever source on the people of the Middle East.

So the StWC would welcome the “disappearance” of ISIS – presumably in a puff of smoke.

In the meantime they are opposed to the military aid which might bring their defeat.

Because?

Because the US and the UK have an interest in Mosul Oil?

Because  they are “outside interventions”?

Mosul is a very hard case but what was their stand during this: the siege of Kobanî  when our Kurdish comrades fought for dear life against the genociders of ISIL (ISIS)?

By 2 October 2014, ISIL succeeded in capturing 350 Kurdish villages and towns within the vicinity of Kobanê,[60] generating a wave of some 300,000 displaced Kurds, who fled across the border into Turkey‘sŞanlıurfa Province.[61] By January 2015, this had risen to 400,000.[56] The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), coordinated as part of the Euphrates Volcano joint operations room,[citation needed] were later joined by further Free Syrian Army (FSA) reinforcements, heavily armed Peshmerga of the Kurdistan Regional Government, and American and Arab airstrikes providing air support.[62]

On 26 January 2015, the YPG, along with the continued US-led airstrikes, began to retake the city, driving ISIL into a steady retreat. The city of Kobanê was fully recaptured on 27 January; however, most of the remaining villages in the Kobanî Canton remained under ISIL control.[8][63] Kurdish militia along with allied Arab armed groups backed by further airstrikes, then made rapid advances in rural Kobanî, with ISIL withdrawing 25 km from the city of Kobanî by 2 February.[64][65] By late April 2015, ISIL had lost almost all of the villages it had captured in the Canton, but maintained control of a few dozen villages it seized in the northwestern part of the Ar-Raqqah Governorate.[9] The battle for Kobanî was considered a turning point in the war against ISIL.

Wikipedia. Siege of Kobanî

Well, we know they oppose all foreign interventions.

This is important background reading: this time on the related struggles in Syria.

Joey AyoubWhat’s behind Stop the War’s aversion to Syria voices?

On 15 November 2015, Diane Abbott went on the BBC’s ‘Daily Politics’ show to defend herself and the Stop the War (StW) coalition against a rather odd accusation: that they refuse to give a platform to Syrians when discussing Syria.

It followed a heated exchange just days prior, in which Syrian activists challenged StW’s leadership on the matter during a talk on Syria. They were backed by Peter Tatchell, the veteran anti-war activist who had also been criticising StW for what many perceive as its intolerance towards left-wing, democratic and anti-Assad Syrian activists.

This was not a new accusation. StW has prevented Syrian activists from speaking at their rallies or from taking part in any “anti-war” campaign, while giving a platform to pro-Assad apologists and inviting Assad’s own allies like the Ghouta massacre-denier Fadia Laham, also known as “Mother Agnes”, for years.

This exposes two fundamental aspects of StW today: A de facto tolerance and acceptance of Assad’s tyranny translated as the problem of people “over there” which “we” must not get involved in, regardless of the repercussions, and a hatred for subaltern voices, in this case Syrians, who do not fit the accepted narrative.

This, in turn, works hand in hand with an outdated cold war-era framework, still plaguing much of the western and Arab Left, which romanticises (read: whitewashes) the Kremlin’s politics.

More on The New Arab.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 19, 2016 at 3:33 pm