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Proletarian issue 80 (October 2017)
Syria: the liberation of Deir Ezzor
As the day of total victory draws near for the Syrian patriotic forces, the imperialists and their stooges are casting about for ways to save face as they head for the exit.
The liberation of the city of Deir Ezzor by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), assisted by Russian air power, marks a great leap forward in the struggle to rid the country of infestation by west-backed terrorist proxies, forcing a humiliating climbdown for Assad-baiters of all stripes.

Deir Ezzor

Video footage of SAA units breaking the siege and reuniting with their comrades from Brigade 137, pinned down by Daesh (‘Islamic State’) since 2014, whilst viewed with joy by all the friends of Syria, will have sent a chill down the spines of her enemies, given the strategic significance of this milestone in the national-liberation war.

The city and surrounding rural governorate of Deir Ezzor are situated on the Iraqi border, so when liberation is completed, Daesh forces holed up in Raqqa will find their cross-border escape route blocked by the SAA.

The loss of the city and governorate will also deprive the terrorists of the significant oil and gas revenues on which they have battened. Several key facilities have already been recaptured, including the Teym oilfield. And, to deepen the terrorists’ gloom further, a simultaneous operation in Hama governorate, coordinated between the SAA and Russian air power, saw the liberation of the town of Akerbat and the destruction of the last serious pocket of terrorist resistance in central Syria.

Everywhere, the doors are slamming on Daesh.

Daesh itself was in no doubt about the crucial importance of hanging onto Deir Ezzor, as amply evidenced by the avalanche of men and materiel which it poured into the fight, including armour and trucks mounted with sophisticated machine guns, as well as other weapons and ammunition. All was to no avail, however, thanks to the combination of SAA forces on the ground and Russian cover in the air – supplemented at one crucial juncture by a well-targeted cruise missile care of the Russian navy.

A similarly well-coordinated operation recaptured a key airbase near Deir Ezzor, with both Russian and Syrian planes laying down fire in preparation for the successful ground assault by Syrian army forces.

Shambles in Raqqa

These kinds of well-coordinated and carefully targeted operations by the SAA and its Russian allies in Deir Ezzor and Hama contrast starkly with the trigger-happy character of the US-led coalition forces and their Kurdish-led SDF army on the ground, supposedly engaged in the ‘liberation’ of Raqqa.

The United Nations says there are about 25,000 civilians trapped in Raqqa, with on average 27 killed every day. The UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, stated: “Given the extremely high number of reports of civilian casualties ... and the intensity of the air strikes on Raqqa, coupled with Isil’s [Daesh’s] use of civilians as human shields, I am deeply concerned that civilians – who should be protected at all times – are paying an unacceptable price and that forces involved in battling Isil are losing sight of the ultimate goal of this battle.” (‘Destruction, not liberation’, RT, 1 September 2017)

And whilst death rains indiscriminately from the sky on women washing clothes in the Euphrates and local hospitals, resident media activist Musa al Khalifa told RT, little if any headway is being made against Daesh on the ground. “The US jets are destroying the buildings while SDF forces progress by land ... but at night Isil uses suicide vehicles to regain control of the same territories previously controlled by SDF. When they [the US and SDF commanders] talk about direct confrontation with Isis – they are lying, there are no armed confrontations at all.” (Ibid)

Imperialist retreat

Syria is winning her own liberation war, in spite of the uninvited ‘help’ offered by imperialism. Staffan de Mistura, UN special envoy to Syria, did no more than state baldly what everyone else was already tacitly conceding when he announced: “What we are seeing is in my opinion the beginning of the end of this war.” (Strategic defeat of Isis in Syria imminent, RT, 2 September 2017)

And whilst no imperialist worth his salt would ever openly acknowledge that what has ended the war is the victory of Syria in the struggle for national liberation inflicted upon her by imperialism itself, the signs are everywhere that the west is losing heart with the whole sick proxy-war adventure and looking for a way out.

Take our own Boris Johnson. It seems but yesterday that Britain’s oafish foreign secretary was insolently demanding the overthrow of President Assad before any talks could happen. Today he is ‘explaining’ the government’s new position to confused Radio 4 listeners: “We used to say ‘he has to go’ as a precondition. Now we are saying that ‘he should go, but as part of a transition’. It is always open to him to stand in a democratic election.” As he already did in 2014, with resounding success! (Assad is here to stay, west tells Syrian opposition by Hannah Lucinda Smith and Richard Spencer, The Times, 26 August 2017)

And it seems there is a sea change elsewhere in Whitehall too, where it is reported by the Guardian that officials have ‘suddenly’ discovered that the £200m aid money the government has been donating to local populations in Idlib is going straight into the pocket of al-Qaeda off-shoot al-Nusra, and not to Mother Teresa at all. Germany and the US have simultaneously made the same discovery, and are likewise looking for the exit.

In the middle east itself, support for the proxy war is flaking away, with veteran ‘opposition’ supporter Jordan announcing blithely that “bilateral ties with Damascus are going in the right direction”, whilst the Gulf states are more concerned with the Riyadh/Doha split – a split that was itself driven, at least in part, by the failure to impose regime change on Damascus and the subsequent descent into mutual recrimination and backstabbing, freely embroidered with conflicting confessional affiliations. (Victory for Assad looks increasingly likely as world loses interest in Syria by Martin Chulov, Guardian, 31 August 2017)

Hezbollah riding high

Whilst Syria’s enemies lose heart and squabble amongst themselves, the heroic struggle being waged by Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah to free both Lebanon and Syria of terrorists is moving up a notch.

In July, the combined forces of Hezbollah, the Lebanese army and the SAA overwhelmed the Nusra splinter of al-Qaeda in the Bekaa valley. Then, in August, the Lebanese army and Hezbollah both turned their sights on Daesh in the Syrian territory of Western Qalamoun. Hezbollah claimed direct drone strikes on Daesh positions, bunkers and fortifications.

The prominent cooperation of the Lebanese army itself in these encounters, in clear recognition of the central role played by Hezbollah in defending the sovereignty of both countries, at the least raises a question mark over the political future of the Lebanese government led by prime minister Saad al-Hariri, an imperialist stooge of the first water.

Even as his country’s army was busy coordinating military action with Hezbollah to defend Lebanon’s borders, Hariri stood next to Trump on the White House lawn in July and listened passively as the US president denounced Hezbollah as a ‘menace’, promising to tighten sanctions against it. Not least among the fruits of Syrian victory could be the strengthening of Hezbollah’s hand in Lebanon and the timely exposure of comprador shysters. (Hezbollah and Syrian army finishing off terrorists of al-Nusra by Andre Vitchek, Off-Guardian, 17 August 2017)

Ankara: a change of heart?

It seems that the Turkish government is engaged in an agonising reappraisal regarding which side its bread is buttered now that victory is in sight for Syria. The startling news emerges from a Syrian media source that Ankara, after years of lending all manner of aid and succour to the jihadi terrorists (including the provision of base camps along the Syrian border, the passage of arms to the terrorists, the purchase of oil from Daesh and the wholesale dismantling and theft of entire factories in Aleppo), is to stop funding the so-called Syrian National Coalition.

The SNC is the political front for the Free Syrian Army (FSA) cut-throats. Erdogan’s apparent decision to leave them high and dry suggests that yet another key ally in imperialism’s proxy war of subversion against Syria is cutting its losses, preferring to sharpen its focus on preventing the emergence of a Kurdish state.

In short, the impending victory of the Syrian people is sending shock waves around the world, leaving imperialism more weak and divided by far than was the case at the beginning of this vile proxy war.

And even as the US-led coalition blunders on in Raqqa, hoping against hope that it can deliver some half-way credible ‘liberation’ with ‘made in America’ stamped on it, Trump’s very public decision to call time on the CIA training programme gives the true measure of just how far US imperialism has retreated from its cocky ‘Assad must go’ regime-change bravado.

Victory to the Syrian president, government, army and people!
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