by our Arab Affairs correspondent
The Kremlin has re-affirmed its absolute opposition to any interference in Syria’s internal affairs during talks with a Syrian government delegation in Moscow and Russia’s communist leader has denounced renewed imperialist moves at the UN to back the Islamist rebels.
Syrian commanders say their troops now have the upper hand in the fight to drive Muslim Brotherhood militias and Al Qaeda gunmen out of Aleppo, the biggest city in the country just 60 km from the Turkish border.”
Syrian reinforcements, backed by tanks, armoured cars and helicopter gunships are pounding the rebels who, the Syrian government say, have been heavily armed by Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The “Free Syrian Army” is desperately trying to establish an enclave in Syria that could then claim Nato protection as a “safe-haven” for civilians trapped in the fighting. The Syrian army, which drove the rebels out of Damascus last week, are equally determined to make sure they don’t succeed.
On the diplomatic front the imperialists are preparing to launch yet another bid to get United Nations cover for future Nato aggression when France takes over the presidency of the Security Council this week. In the meantime the Turkish government, which is openly backing the rebellion, is openly threatening “hot pursuit” against Kurdish guerrillas that they claim are operating in Syria’s northern Kurdish province.
But Iran has warned Turkey against any strike into Syria, which could be used to set up a Nato “buffer zone” to assist the rebels. The Syrian daily, Al Watan [The Nation] says Iran has told the Turks that “Any attack on Syrian territory will meet with a harsh response, and the Iranian-Syrian mutual defence agreement will be activated”. Quoting an unnamed Arab diplomatic source, the paper says “Turkey has received very strong warnings in the past few hours and the following message: beware changing the rules of the game”.
Meanwhile the Russians are continuing to stress their support for the UN Annan Plan and their opposition to any Nato intervention in Syria. Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Khloponin told a visiting high-level Syrian delegation in Moscow this week that the Russian stand regarding the Syrian crisis is firm and a matter of principle.
This was backed by Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the Russian communist party, who accused the imperialists of double standards and hypocrisy over its position on Syria which has resulted in “gruesome bloodshed”.
Zyuganov stated that “the so-called Syrian opposition” is comprised of over 65,000 mercenaries from Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Jordan. At the same time, the Syrian government’s attempts to get the situation under control “are presented as violence against civilians”.
The leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) and the opposition bloc in the Russian parliament said: “When the US unleashed the Arab Spring in Africa and the Middle East; it let the genie of Islamic fundamentalism out of the bottle.”
The Americans were inciting religious extremism in countries with secular governments and: “By supporting radical Islamists, the USA aims to impose control over the entire region and points the edge of an extremist dagger at Russia”.
While making “grandiloquent statements about democracy and human rights, the West has been waging naked aggression against Syria,” the KPRF head said. To achieve that goal, the western countries are using the tactics that had earlier been exercised in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya — using mercenaries who are portrayed in their media as freedom fighters.
“The West — that declares war on international terrorists, such as the CIA’s brainchild Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brothers — in fact actively cooperates with them. It is with their help that the undeclared war on Syria is waged today,” Zyuganov declared.
All that, the Russian veteran communist observed, is evidence of a double-faced policy led by western “fighters for human rights” who condemn only one side of the Syrian conflict — the government of President Bashar al-Assad .
“We are told that western efforts to solve the Syrian problem are being wrecked by Russia and China who block [UN] draft resolutions providing for [military] interference in Syria and bringing order American-style,” Zyuganov pointed out. At the same time, some politicians in the West say they are going to seek a mandate allowing the use of force against Assad’s government with the help of the Friends of Syria group.
“The US needs a solid reason today in order to legalise hostility,” the Communist head concluded. The Russian Communist Party (KPRF) condemned “imperialist aggression” against Syria and demanded that the West respects the UN Charter and principles.
The only solution to the situation is a complete suspension of financial and political support to “outside mercenaries” and allowing the Syrian people to decide themselves on their fate, Zyuganov said.
The Russian communists called on Russia’s Foreign Ministry to maintain its constructive stance on the peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis, “despite massive pressure attempts by pro-American lobby, which is being active in Russia”.