Special interview with Wessam Kahel, member of the International Relations Committee of the Communist Youth Union of Syria-Bakdash.
ICP, 9th February 2016
ICP: How would you consider the internal dynamics and the positions of the subjects in Syria today?
WK: I would like to give some information from the last events. Syrian army recently has progressed in different places. As you know, it is a quite large country. So, the Syrian army cannot spread all its forces to all places. This progress should be considered due to Russia, on which we will talk about later.
Aleppo for example, the south of Aleppo is mainly controlled by the Syrian army and the reactionary rebels have all been swept away. This powerful and fast progress of the Syrian army was supported by Russia. More than 75 places in south of Aleppo are controlled by the Syrian army now. It is not the city, but the wide countryside. In some small cities, the army swept the rebels away just in a few hours. We were surprised by this very fast progress.
Also in the west of Aleppo, important progress has been made against Daesh this time.
In south, there is the main terrorist organisation, the Front of Nusra which is affiliated to Al-Quaida, and also some other smaller terrorist organisations controlled by this Front of Nusra.
West of Aleppo, there have also been progressions towards al Rakka, the so-called capital of Daesh.
We are all very surprised about this progress and we are very hopeful as well.
Also around Damascus, where most of the places are in the government’s control, in the countryside and exactly in the west, there is the Islamic Front, an organisation controlled by the Saudi-Arabia. The leader of this organisation has been killed in an operation of Syria and Russia. His name was Zehran Hallush. This clearly means a very big problem for this organisation since they depend only on one person, not on an ideology.
South of Damascus, Dara, near to Jordan and Israel, where there is also Front of Al-Nusra, the Syrian army has regained control of some big cities and important places. This is a very broad region but Syrian army has done many progressions in all of these places.
In the middle of Syria, in Homms, there was a very small base where the rebels were grounded. Syrian army has circled them, fought and made these rebels leave the city. Homms is now clear. The countryside towards Liban is also clear.
ICP: What about Palmira?
WK: Unfortunately, you know that there has been a big attack from hundreds, maybe a thousand of rebels to get this small city. It is a very important city since it is a historical place. Syrian army has drawn back as they did not want the artifacts get damaged. It is still under the control of ISIS, but the Syrian army is positioned around 10 km above. It is not the most important place for now though, there are many big cities that the Syrian army tries to deal with.
ICP:Has there been any damage to this ancient city?
WK: Yes, unforunately… As you know, Daesh and the other organisations have no ideology, no humanity, no reason; they kill and fight, they destroy every historical thing, this is because they are reactionary organisations with reactionary ideas which could also be called a fascist ideology. “If you don’t come with us, I kill you” or “If this place belongs to your ideology, I destroy it” this is how they act.
ICP: As communists who are struggling in such difficult conditions, how do you consider the Russian intervention and the roles of some others like Hizbullah, or Iran, who say they are opposing the American imperialism?
WK: We recognise that Russia is now a capitalist country, it is not USSR anymore. But we also know that the actual enemy now is the US imperialism,which is what we must be against for today. We consider the Russian intervention as a positive intervention because it gave and is still giving the Syrian army and the people of Syria more and more power against the organisations fighting our people and our army.
From the beginning of this military intervention, it has been legitimate because it was the Syrian government who invited Russia to interfere. So we cannot call it an invasion or attack. It has been very helpful. From the very beginning of it, there had been many positive activities, important progress for the Syrian army. Also a similar role has been played by Hizbullah and Iran. We have received supporting military activities, supporting positions for the Syrian army and for the Syrian people. We consider that all of this until now has been very positive for us, since it has been a support for struggling against the imperialist attack. (And also it provides us some time.)
ICP: What about the activities of the Union? We assume that you are actively involved in the defence of the country, and today it is a reactionary position to be against Assad, but one day it will change. Can you tell us about a future strategy for your organisation?
WK: In some places, we cannot move, cannot do anything, it is “die or leave”. There, we have to hold a position together with the army, and we do not have any activity of our own in these places. But in places which are controlled by the government, by the Syrian army, as you said, we are active as we were before the war. I will divide our activities in two parts: First part is under the big banner “Syria will not kneel” which was created by our historical leader Halid Bakdash many years before. This patriotic banner is still up to date. Under this banner, we continue our struggle, we support the Syrian army, support the resisting people of Syria. We share this banner not only with the communists, our union or our party, but also with other important national forces which share this patriotism. We consider this as not only our national or class duty, but also an international duty since Syria represents an international struggle against the global imperialist attack.
And the second part is under the banner: “Defence of rights of the Syrian youth”. It is related to our economical and social struggle against the economical liberalism of our government. We are against the liberal activities of the government in health, in education, and in everything. We try to maintain the gains in health, in education, and in other areas. We also continue our struggle to get more social and progressive rights in housing and in employment of the young generations. We also support the nationalisation of the production for the country because we believe that is an important economic factor to support Syria.
We also have some other events. Before the war, we had the central carnival for all the country. But now, because of this situation, it has to become local. Another activity is the yearly cultural “Halid Bakdash meetings” in which we invite progressive artists, singers. Also as the organisation, we have discussions and analysis about the current issues.
We also have an exclusive school for our party and for our union members.
In our universities, especially in Damascus and in Aleppo, we represent our Union in most of the colleges and also in “Syrian Students’ Union”. This way we can get close to the students’ demands and we can spread our ideas as communists, our analysis and opinions with other students, as our first duty. The second duty is about communicating demands of the students and the youth in general.
We try to continue our struggle despite the war and we will never give up…