Ankara hands off Kurds in Syria! US out of Mideast!

By Terry Evans
October 28, 2019
Militant photos: above, Catharina Tirsén; right, Arlene RubinsteinAbove, Jonathan Silberman, Communist League candidate for U.K. Parliament, left, speaks at Oct. 8 London action to protest Turkish government invasion of Kurdish-held area in northeastern Syria. Right, protester at Oct. 12, Washington D.C., action appeals for solidarity with Kurdish people’s fight for national rights.


The capitalist rulers in Turkey and Islamist Syrian forces they arm and control launched airstrikes, artillery bombardments and a ground invasion of northeastern Syria Oct. 9, targeting the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces there. Their goal is to weaken the Kurds hold on the autonomous area of Syria carved out over the last few years in the course of their struggle for national rights.

Washington decided to withdraw its 1,000 troops from northern Syria four days later. President Donald Trump said it was time to get out of the “never-endless wars” in the region. Faced with this, SDF leaders decided to make a deal with Moscow and Damascus to move their forces into parts of the Kurdish region.

Washington is evacuating most of these troops to other U.S. bases in the Mideast, as part of expanding its forces and military capacities in the region. The U.S. rulers’ central goal is to counter the rising military and political influence of the bourgeois clerical Iranian rulers.

The 30 million oppressed Kurds living in Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran are the world’s largest nationality without their own country.

In the first days of the Turkish rulers’ onslaught some 200,000 people fled their homes from near Syria’s border with Turkey. Scores have been killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Turkish government has also arrested opponents of its offensive inside Turkey, including four mayors from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party in districts near Turkey’s border with Syria.

The Turkish government threatens to force hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees in Turkey to move into the so-called safe zone it seeks to impose along the border. This, they hope, will kill two birds with one stone — getting rid of Syrian refugees who are a drain on Ankara’s resources while also forming a human barrier between the Kurds in Syria and those in Turkey.

Shorn of Washington’s backing, the Syrian Democratic Forces leadership turned to the governments of Russia and Iran, no friends of the Kurds’ struggle for national rights, who brokered an agreement for the Bashar al-Assad government to send its forces into border areas in the SDF-controlled region.

The capitalist rulers in Tehran and Moscow had provided decisive military force to prop up Assad after his rule was shaken by a popular uprising for political rights and a subsequent civil war, helping him bring large parts of the country back under his control.

But until now Assad’s forces have not tried to move inside the 25% of the country controlled by the Kurdish-led forces, where most of Syria’s oil is located. The Assad regime responded rapidly to the SDF’s invitation, dispatching troops to Manbij and other towns in the border area.

Moscow also began deploying military police there, patrolling areas between the invading Turkish government-backed forces and Assad’s troops.

No end to ‘endless wars’

Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced the evacuation of most U.S. troops from northeast Syria to Iraq Oct. 13. The remaining 300 U.S. troops in the country will reinforce Washington’s al-Tanf base in the south of Syria. That base lies close to the strategic Baghdad to Damascus highway, a route Tehran wants to use to transfer arms to the militias that it organizes across the region.

Washington’s pullback was condemned by both Democratic and Republican politicians. The Democrats are the most bellicose of the bipartisan “war party” today, pushing continued war moves in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The Trump administration imposed tariffs on steel produced in Turkey and halted talks on a trade deal with Ankara Oct. 14.

But the pullback of U.S. forces in Syria has nothing to do with ending the rulers’ military intervention in the Mideast.

Both Democratic and Republican-led governments in Washington have carried out wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere after the implosion of the Soviet Union, believing this meant they could impose subservient governments wherever they choose. But these wars furthered the fracturing of the U.S.- dominated imperialist world order in the Mideast and landed Washington in a quagmire.

Far from withdrawing Washington’s forces, Trump is increasing their deployment. The U.S. rulers intend to challenge the growing influence the Iranian rulers have established through their military intervention in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere.

The administration has deployed an additional 3,000 U.S. troops, two fighter squadrons and a missile defense system to Saudi Arabia. Since May, 14,000 U.S. forces have been deployed to the Arab-Persian Gulf region. Working people have no interest in backing the rulers’ use of Washington’s massive military might anywhere across the Mideast, explained Alyson Kennedy, the Socialist Workers Party’s presidential candidate in 2016, in a statement “Solidarity with the Working People of Syria,” published in the Militant in March of that year.

US, Ankara out now!

“Syrian toilers need the space to mobilize in political action, to learn in struggle, to be transformed from victims into conscious actors in history. All the imperialist and capitalist forces intervening in Syria today are obstacles to this course,” she said.

“We oppose the U.S. rulers’ involvement in the war in Syria and Iraq and call for Washington, its allies and others — from London and Paris to Moscow, Ankara and Tehran — to withdraw their warplanes, ships and troops now.”

The SWP today demands the capitalist rulers in Ankara halt their bloody assault on the Kurds and pull their forces out of Syria.

Kurds and supporters of Kurdish self-determination have organized protests of thousands against the Turkish-government orchestrated invasion of Syria, including in Erbil, in the Kurdish region of Iraq, as well as in Washington, London, Paris and elsewhere.