World Peace Council visited Damascus
In preparation for an international solidarity mission in June to Syria
The World Peace Council delegation's visit to Damascus, Syria, was completed successfully from 1 to 5 March. At the invitation of the Syrian National Peace Council (member of the WPC Secretariat), a delegation composed of Iraklis Tsavdaridis, Executive Secretary of the WPC and Akel Takaz and Jamil Safieh, chairpersons of the Peace and Solidarity Committees of Palestine and Lebanon respectively, visited Damascus for meetings with political and social organizations of the country and the people who are facing seven years the imperialist interventions as a ground for the tough competition of imperialists and their allies, with dozens of armed extremist religious groups.
The WPC met with the Syrian National Peace Council expressing its full solidarity with the people of Syria in its right to decide freely and sovereignly its future against foreign aggressions and interventions aimed at geostrategic control of energy resources and pipelines as part of a "broader Middle East" plan, including violent regime changes and the establishment of imperialist-friendly governments. The WPC has condemned the ongoing attempt of an armed destabilization of the country, despite the significant successes recently made by the Syrian army in Syria, and stressed particularly its opposition and concern about the use of many thousands of civilians as a "human shield" in the Al Ghouta province (15 km east of the capital), where thousands of "holy warriors" have been deployed for several months, fueled and led by Saudi Arabia and others. The WPC delegation voiced strong disagreement and condemnation for the military intervention and presence of Turkey in the northern territories of Syria, on the pretext of the Kurdish issue, which is used by the US for its own purposes and in competition with other forces to control neighboring oil and border sources.
The WPC reaffirmed its long standing position for ending the imperialist interventions, the withdrawal of all foreign military forces, including tens of thousands of mercenaries organized in dozens of groups and armies coming from over 80 countries of the world. The WPC witnessed the massive destruction of the country, the loss of tens of thousands of Syrian soldiers and civilians caused by the "Islamic State", the “Al Nusra”, the "Free Syrian Army," and many others which have the support of the USA, NATO and the EU, together with Turkey, Israel and the reactionary regimes of the Gulf monarchies. Special reference was made of the millions of refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, as well as of those who attempted their passage through the Aegean Sea (losing their lives) to Greece and Europe, the conditions of life in the refugee camps, the hypocrisy of the imperialists and the use of refugees, either as a cheap labor force in the industries of host countries, or as “de facto hostages” and a tool for Turkey's “bargaining” and purposes over the years.
From its part, the Syrian National Peace Council thanked the WPC and its members for its firm and continuous solidarity. It explained how the WPC proved to be a genuine friend in difficult times, with firm positions of principle in favor of the just struggle of the Syrian people, stressing that their country "was the victim of an unprecedented imperialist conspiracy of enormous dimensions, but whereas the battles have not been completed yet ". They expressed the conviction that the imperialist intervention in Syria was the continuation of what had begun in 1999 in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, noting that "the Syrian people were called to pay a heavy burden of blood because they refused to submit to US-NATO and EU imperialists and their plans ". The Syrian National Peace Council noted that the war did not have a religious basis, despite the efforts of the imperialists and their allies to present it so, and condemned the Turkish military invasion of the Syrian province of Afrin, underlining that the Kurds of Syria are an integral part of their people, while condemning the US actions that incite secessionist tendencies. They also provided evidence that Syria has a Kurdish population spread across the country (around 10-11%) and in all cities and that in the province of Afrin not only Syrian Kurds live but many other Syrians. Likewise, the various religious and ethnic groups of Syria lived always in harmony, never knowing or asking anyone about the origin of their neighbors.
International Mission of Solidarity in June in Syria
The subject of the meetings and talks of the WPC with the Syrian National Peace Council was finally the idea (many times discussed by the WPC) to organize a major international mission of solidarity to Syria. In particular, it was proposed from Syrian side that the World Peace Council (WPC) and the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) will organize together, in the month of June, a solidarity mission in cooperation with the Syrian National Peace Council and the National Union of Syrian Student (NUSS) as hosts, with the following objectives:
1. Solidarity with the People and Youth of Syria against the imperialist plans and interventions in the country for the right of the people to decide on their own and freely its fortunes
2. Solidarity with the struggling peoples of the region, victims of imperialist interventions and occupation (see Palestine)
3. Knowledge and acquaintance with the consequences of the 7-year war and imperialist intervention, disasters and the everyday problems of the people. Breaking the silence and distortion about the real causes of the drama and the daily struggle of a resisting people
Meetings with the Communist Parties of Syria
During the visit of the WPC to Damascus, the delegation had the opportunity to meet delegations from both countries' CPs. In particular, a delegation of the Syrian Communist Party (SCP) headed by Ammar Bagdash General Secretary and a delegation of the Syrian CP (Unified) headed by the members of the PB Krain Negen and Izmail Hamou. The Syrian Communist Parties in the respective meetings stressed the need for the people to defend their land and their sovereignty over the imperialist plans, while each of them mentioned the need to safeguard and defend labor and people's rights and meet the people’s needs by condemning the phenomena of personal enrichment in the course of the war by speculators. Both sides exchanged views and information about the situation in the country, the imperialist plans and the dangers that still exist, the Syrian parties' thanked the WPC for their solidarity and expressed the support for the idea of organizing a major internationalist mission of solidarity June to Syria.
With the Syrian National Student Union
The WPC also met with a delegation from the National Union of Syrian Students (NUSS), headed by its president of Ammar Saati, who is also a member of the National Leadership of the Baath Party of Syria.
The NUSS expressed its appreciation to the WPC for its attitude towards the Syrian people and youth, "which was challenged with thousands of young soldiers to defend their homeland in a dirty war and at a heavy price." At the same time, it was explained how throughout the years of imperialist intervention and crisis, the universities of the country did not cease to operate and that despite the economic difficulties, economic hardship and sanctions, "the people and the youth stood up in defense of the territorial integrity and sovereignty and their rights ".
The National Union of Syrian Students expressed its gratitude and congratulated the WPC on the initiative to organize an international mission of solidarity to the country and affirmed its readiness to support with it by all means.
Solidarity with the People of Palestine
As part of the WPC presence in Damascus, the opportunity was given to a friendly meeting with three Palestinian organizations and their branches in Syria. Specifically, the WPC met with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine delegation headed by Abu Ahmed Fuad, member of the PB of the PFLP, with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, led by Fahed Suleyman, member of the PB of the DFLP and with the Party of the People of Palestine headed by Maher Sharif, member of the PB of the PPP. The solidarity of the WPC to the Palestinian people was underlined, with the demand to end the Israeli occupation, the dissolution of Israeli settlements and the Separation Wall in the West Bank, and the release of political prisoners from Israeli prisons, with particular reference to the hundreds of minors as well as the recent example of Ahed Tamimi. The WPC stressed its position on the right to the return of Palestinian refugees based on UN resolution 194 and the demand for the establishment and recognition of an independent and viable UN member state at the border before 4 June 1967 and with East Jerusalem as its capital. The recent decision by the US President to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, proof of the real face of US imperialism, which cannot be a mediator of the just demands of the Palestinian people, has been condemned in all respects. Common ground was the assessment that in the 25 years since the signing of the Oslo Agreement, Israel further advanced the occupation, removed rights from the Palestinians, and established a military occupation with daily harassments, arrests and killings, removing every trace for talks and a fair solution to the issue.
The Palestinian parties informed from their side about their solidarity with the Syrian people, which are "heroically confronting both the imperialist interventions and the action of thousands of armed terrorists, as well as the tactics of the reactionary regimes in the region that pose a threat also to the people Palestine ". The WPC delegation was informed of the particularly difficult conditions in the Palestinian refugee camps in Syria, in particular in the largest Yarmouk camp (within the city of Damascus), where the “ISIS” continues their armed terrorist activity. Representatives of the three Palestinian parties hailed the WPC initiative to visit Syria, stating that it would also be an opportunity to get acquainted with the specific problems of the refugees and solidarity with the people of Palestine.
The WPC with the Deputy Foreign Minister of Syria
Before concluding the WPC visit to Syria, a meeting was held with Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mikdad, who warmly thanked the WPC for supporting the people's just struggle "against an all-powerful and multifaceted enemy who tried, without success, to subordinate our people and divide our country, as it did in Libya or earlier in Yugoslavia with the imperialist interventions of the US and NATO." The Syrian Minister referred to the provocative military intervention of Turkey in the Syrian territories in the north of the country and elsewhere and to the approaches of Saudi Arabia who support and guide the armed mercenaries at the east of the capital, who shoot civilian when they try to escape the War zone. He also condemned the brutal military, financial support of US and EU forces to armed terrorists over the years. The participants of the meeting exchanged views on the risks of partitioning the country, the talks in Geneva, Sochi and Astana and the need to defend the unity of the people and land of Syria. Opinions were also exchanged on Russia's role in the region, upon the invitation of the Syrian government for assistance and its special interests in the region.
At the end of the meeting Iraklis Tsavdaridis, Executive Secretary of the WPC, made the following statement in the Syrian Media and the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA):
"The World Peace Council expresses its solidarity with the people of Syria in the difficult struggle to defend its sovereign rights against a huge US-NATO and EU war machine along with their allies in the region and especially Turkey, Israel and reactionary regimes of the Persian Gulf who have equipped and guided tens of thousands of armed "holy warriors" in order to control the region that is rich in energy raw materials and crucial for the pipelines. The WPC supports the inalienable right of the Syrian people to decide freely and independently about its destiny and to become true masters in its land. In this context, the WPC will take the initiative to organize an International Mission of Solidarity with the Syrian people in the near future. "
Prepared by Iraklis Tsavdaridis
10th March 2018