People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 48

December 02, 2012






Resistance to Intervention in Syria



Debasish Chakraborty

reports from Antioch (Turkey)


THE International Peace Conference held in the city of Antioch (Antakiya)  of Turkey at the initiative of the Peace Association of Turkey, under the auspices of the World Peace Council, reaffirmed that the recent events that occurred in the Middle East were a threat to the region and to the world peace. It felt that these events could lead to a greater catastrophe and called upon all the peace-loving people to stand side by side for peace and to act with solidarity against imperialism which is the main source of threat to peace and sovereignty of the nations.


The conference, held during November 24-25, assumed great significance in the backdrop of developments in Syria. Antioch is the main city of Hatay province of Turkey which borders Syria and is already experiencing serious impact of the Syrian crisis. While being there, international peace activists, including the representative of All India Peace and Solidarity Organisation (AIPSO) listened to many experiences from the residents of Hatay about how the Syrian crisis has been fuelled and abetted by foreign forces. All sections of people in Hatay, those included members of parliament of Turkey, intellectuals, journalists, medical professionals, engineers, mayors of local municipalties told us that foreign terrorists have gathered in Turkey border and entered Syria. International media, despite its embedded role as as NATO campaigner, has already reflected this truth about Syria. But the ground situation is far more worse. Turkey, a NATO member, is playing an aggressive role against its neighbour -- sheltering and training the so-called rebel forces in its territory. One of the pricipal armed gang, Free Syrian Army is operating from Turkey. Foreign islamist forces like Al Qaeda are very much active in Syrian towns. The people of Hatay were frightened and shattered when they saw Al Qaeda and other militants from Libya, Afghanistan and other countries swarming their peaceful land. These gangs started disrupting normal life in Hatay and were freely roaming the streets, vandalising the ethos of Hatay, a secular-minded mosaic of different religious and ethnic groups. The people of Hatay protested with a determination and two huge consecutive rallies were held in the city in the month of September. They virtually forced these militants to step back, though they have taken shelter in adjoining  areas with protection from the government of Turkey.


In the conference itself, one after another speaker presented evidence of foreign-sponsored terrorism against Syria. On November 24, there were three panel discussions: Solidarity with Syrian people, where the region is heading towards and the experiences of Antioch. The inaugural speech was delivered by Iraklis Tsavdaridis, executive secretary of World Peace Council. He raised specific questions about the role of USA, EU and NATO in Middle East and Syria. He castigated imperialism for the illegitimate promotion and intervention in Syria. Other international participants included from India, Greece, Palestine, Cyprus, Belgium. Opposition members of Turkish parliament denounced the role of their government. In fact, many speakers, including a number of members of Turkish parliament, said that imperialism is using Turkey and some other regional countries as sub-contractors to implement their design in Syria. This fire also threatens the countries which are used for these policies. 


Speakers generally opined that the Syrian people have the right to enjoy democracy, civil rights, a fuller humane society to live in. They have the right to engage in extension of these rights, to demand political reforms if they want so. But these internal questions are sought to be utilised for not only a regime change but also to destroy every advancement achieved by the people of Syria. And, what makes the entire episode dreadful is involvement of the foreign forces. The involvement of a number of countries in the Syrian crisis as arms suppliers and political operatives is virtually exposed and well documented now.  The US, UK, and France, its NATO ally Turkey, and the monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar are in the forefront. Many speakers emphasised that the focal point is the gameplan of USA, the design of expanding the hegemony through extension of NATO, the re-ordering of Middle East.


Some of the participants vehemently protested the campaign unleashed by Western media and said that the terrorist crimes of the rebels have been suppressed while completely false reports about Syrian security forces actions have been propagated.


Speakers from Middle East and surrounding areas also accused imperialist forces of instigating sectarian feuds. They said, in their design of seeking disintegration and devastation, the imperialist forces always foment sectarian strife and narrow identities. This has happened in many parts of the world, including Iraq. This is now being done in Syria, which traditionally has been one of the most composite mélanges of religious and ethnic identities in the Middle East. Through these manoeuvres now, the potential of any movement with democratic aspiration from below has been hijacked.




In its submission, AIPSO underlined that the battle for control of the Middle East, part of which is being fought today in Syria, was obviously related with control over oil, as it was in Iraq and Libya. Crisis-ridden international finance capital is intensifying its pernicious expropriation of natural resources all over the world. One cannot disconnect this hunt and the political-military adventures of USA and its friends. The struggle in solidarity with the Syrian people, therefore, is a part of the wider struggle to resist the onslaught of predatory finance capital.


AIPSO also said, till now, the obstacle set up by Russia and China on the UN Security Council has prevented USA and NATO from unleashing thousands of airborne missiles to liberate Syria. This is the precious time when the international community should send a stern warning to the war-mongerers. India could have played a much effective role. But there is a gradual shift in the foreign policy of India, once the respected towering figure of Non Aligned Movement, towards aligning herself with US strategic designs. Debasish Chakraborty represented AIPSO.


On November 25, a mass programme with a Peace Concert was held in Antioch Sports Indoor Stadium. Hundreds of people, particularly the youth, joined enthusiastically. The mood of resistance to military intervention against Syria was evident with the whole stadium reverberating with slogans like No Pasaran to War Mongers, Hands Off from Syria and accusing imperialism as the greatest enemy of mankind. Popular singer Akkaiya and progressive band group Grup Yurum performed with gusto. The response of the people turned out to be very important in a juncture when Turkey is preparing for border conflict and Patriot missiles are being deployed on the Syrian border. Ademiyer Guler of Turkey Peace Association and member of parliament from Hatay Mehmet Ali Edipaytu were among those who addressed the gathering.


Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) played an important role in organising the Peace Conference and their young volunteers and activists proudly presented themselves in numbers. TKP has been able to mobilise people on this issue to a great degree and even the non-Left opposition parties agreed to share dias.




The declaration of the conference stated that the name of the crime perpetrated against Syria is nothing but international terrorism. It underlined that it was the sole right of the Syrian people to determine their future and leadership and it denounces any foreign military and political interference in this country. The conference convened in Turkey warned its AKP government to stop interfering in the domestic affairs of Syria immediately.


The conference expressed solidarity with Syrian people who did not surrender before imperialism and reaction despite intense terrorist attacks.


At the same time, the conference strongly condemned the attack on Palestinian people in Gaza. It reaffirmed support and solidarity with the Palestinian people in their just struggle. 


The declaration stated: the peace organisations and peace lovers gathered in Antioch observed that people of Turkey in general and specifically people living in Antioch do adamantly oppose the militaristic policies. Our conference clearly states that  people in the  region who have suffered heavy losses from the winds of war by means of economic collapse, unemployment, risk of migration, deaths and injuries  are not alone in their struggle for peace. t was, in fact a call for broader mobilisation and intensified campaign against intervention in Syria throughout the world.