Hands Off Syria

New Delhi: The New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI) strongly condemns Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on the recent attack on Syria by a coalition of the United States, France and the United Kingdom. The air strikes were a clear violation of international law and the deafening silence of the Indian government is unacceptable.

Since the outbreak of the Syrian conflict in 2011 it is estimated that over 500,000 people have been killed, over five million Syrians fled the country and over six million have been internally displaced. This represents over 80 percent of the country’s population reflecting the sheer scale of human misery it has brought on. The prolonging and escalation of the ongoing conflict is the direct interference of imperialist forces in the conflict. The US, UK and France have at different points of time financed non-state forces through Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Israel has fuelled the conflict by recognising Syria as the strongest and most consistent supporter of the right to nationhood of the Palestinian peoples. Undermining and dividing Syria and removing the Assad Government is central to the advance of Zionism. The right-wing Turkish forces, which has in many instances been at variance with the west, has proved to be a faithful ally so long as it is permitted to suppress the resistance for the right to self-determination of the Kurdish peoples on its border with Syria. The imperialist countries and their collaborators are determined to ensure that the efforts to find a peaceful solution to Syrian crisis, including those made by Russia and Iran. The prospect of peace in Syria and the region is undermined and the right of the Syrian people to define and determine their own destiny is being violated. Both the United States and British governments through their actions have violated their own countries’ democratic principles by failing to obtain consent of their respective legislatures.

The unprovoked and illegitimate bombing of Syria on 13 April 2018 jointly by the US, UK and France was justified by them by the charge of use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government. The attack occurred without support of the UN Security Council and before the International Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons could run an investigation. In fact the three aggressor countries opposed a UN Security Council resolution calling for inspection of Syria’s chemical weapons facilities under international covenant. NTUI strongly condemns this action and opposes the underlying rationale which is a clear violations of international law and the rule of law in general. Such actions put peace in danger beyond Syria and further undermine international law and further replace it with the law of the strongest.

‘It is obvious to NTUI that these attacks do not contribute in any way to peace, to self-determination of the people or to democracy’, said N Vasudevan, President of NTUI speaking at a public rally in Mumbai on 16 April. ‘In 2003 the US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair lied to their own people and the world that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and waged an unlawful war against Iraq with the unstated objective of using external force to ensure regime change. The US, UK and France are driven by their imperialist interests to shape the future of Syria and the entire West Asian region despite all claims made by US President Donald Trump, French President Emanuel Macron or British Prime Minister Theresa May. Recently and almost forgotten by the international public the same forces that now claim to protect human rights sold out their former Kurdish allies of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria’, said Vasudevan. When YPG was at the forefront to force back the Islamist forces of the Daesh, it was a welcome ally. But when YPG fights for the rights of the Kurdish people to self-determination and to democracy it is dropped by the same forces claiming to fight for just that. The discrimination that is driven by imperialist interests is obvious. The United States, the United Kingdom and France did nothing to prevent the far right-Turkish government from following its neo-Osman agenda and from invading north Syria where YPG and allied social forces were trying to build a democratic confederation within the country simply because it was not in their interest.

At this hour of external aggression the NTUI stands in solidarity with the Syrian working class as it calls upon the Government of India

Condemn the recent attacks as an attack that is unwarranted, unjustified and illegal and an assault on the rights of the Syrian peoples to determine their own destiny and calls upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi set this out in his speech at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London today.
Recognise and advocate the people’s right to self-determination be it the Syrian people, the Kurdish people or people elsewhere.
To ensure that the UN undertakes an independent investigation of the alleged use of chemical weapons and measures according to international law.

Gautam Mody

General Secretary