The Russian-Led Onslaught on Free Syria: A Crime Against Syrians, A Crime Against the World

Statement written by Zachary Medeiros, SPUSA Interntional Relations Committee Chair and passed by the SPUSA National Action Committee

Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad have unleashed a new round of hell on Syrians. On November 15, while the world was still coming to terms with the election of unhinged racist buffoon and professed Putin admirer Donald Trump, the Russian fleet stationed in the Eastern Mediterranean began to unload its payload on rebel-held parts of northwestern Syria, joined by the Russian Air Force and Assad’s warplanes and helicopters. Under the guise of targeting ISIS (which has no presence in northwestern Syria) and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham/Nusra Front, they have attacked Idlib, Homs, Eastern Aleppo, and the surrounding countryside with a ferocity unseen since the start of Moscow’s farcical humanitarian pause, which ended a period of bombardment that killed more than 600 people from September 19 to October 18. Over the course of less than a week, over 200 people have been killed so far, mostly civilians. On November 19 alone, the Local Coordination Committees documented 80 deaths across Syria, with 49 killed by Russian and regime bombs just in Aleppo The White Helmets’ spokesman, Ibrahim Abu al-Laith, placed the death toll even higher, with 80 deaths in Aleppo province.  That same day, Russian and regime planes took three hospitals in Eastern Aleppo out of commission, including a children’s facility. According to witnesses, they were hit by toxic gas and illegal vacuum bombs, an allegation supported by video evidence.  The images of the destruction and carnage caused by this offensive are horrifying, stark proof of modern-day barbarity in motion.  What we are witnessing is state terrorism, high-grade butchery of near-helpless innocents carried out in full view of the world. The Socialist Party USA vehemently opposes all aerial bombing campaigns in Syria, whether they are carried out by the United States, Russia, the regime, or any other government, and we consider all attacks on civilians war crimes that must be condemned in no uncertain terms and protested en masse. It is a fact, however, that the Russian and Assadist forces are responsible for the overwhelming majority of civilian casualties in Syria . For that reason, we specifically call for an end to the murderous onslaught of Moscow and Damascus, which has already slaughtered so many and promises to slaughter many more, and we support all campaigns, but especially those organized by Syrians, to resist and stop it.

The fresh hell of the Russian-led offensive comes as the last of Eastern Aleppo’s food aid has run out, leaving its roughly 250,000 residents trapped with no supply route to the outside world, at risk of starvation with winter fast approaching.  Aleppoites do not suffer alone in these conditions. The Assad regime has habitually used starvation or the threat of it as a weapon throughout the war, wielding hunger and sickness along with bombs, shells, and missiles as clubs to beat rebellious but besieged communities into submission, as they did in Daraya and so many other places.  There are currently one million Syrians living under siege across Syria, predominately at the hands of the Assadist forces . In addition to an end to the bombings, we call for an end to these barbaric sieges, and the immediate emergency delivery of mass humanitarian airdrops to Eastern Aleppo, Douma, East Ghouta, and all other besieged areas. We demand that the United Nations, which is the only international agency logistically capable of providing such aid, stop coordinating all aid work with the Assad regime, which has not only continued its savage attacks on civilians, but blocked shipments of food, water, and medicine to rebel-held areas, re-directed it to its own territory, and systematically marked humanitarian workers for death, all while accepting tens of millions of dollars in UN contracts. Last September, 73 aid organizations, civil society groups, and local councils operating within Syria suspended their cooperation with the United Nations on these grounds.  Despite the staggering evidence of the Assad regime’s crimes and the UN’s ongoing collusion, the UN leadership still denies the charges and proclaims its impartiality.  Although the UN has always been dominated by the great capitalist powers and typically served as an agent of and vehicle for their interests, it is not immune to democratic public power. We urge all allies of the Syrian people to apply pressure on the UN and all member states, to hold Damascus (and all other violators of the lives and rights of Syrians) accountable.

Finally, we stand with the heroic efforts by the Syrian masses to survive, combat, and hopefully end the fascist and imperialist assaults on their country. The SPUSA recognizes the reality and legitimacy of the Syrian Revolution, and the inherent right of all peoples, including those ruled by self-styled anti-imperialist governments, to democratic self-determination and self-defense in the face of oppression. We side with the Syrian people, and share their dream of a free, just, and peaceful Syria. Let that be clear to all. We side with the Syrian people.

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