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Saturday, 28 November 2015

Why we are not supporting today’s Stop the War demonstration

Syria Solidarity UK and Stop the War have very different concerns regarding Syria: Syria Solidarity is concerned with ending the suffering of Syrians under the Assad dictatorship; Stop the War with opposing any UK military involvement regardless of consequences for Syrians.

We oppose the British government’s proposal to merely mimic the American ISIS-only counter-terrorism war; not only do we believe it is immoral to fly missions in Syria against ISIS while leaving the even greater killer, Assad, free to bomb civilians en masse, we also believe that any war against ISIS that doesn’t put the needs of the Syrian people first will be a failure that can only prolong their suffering.

We do call for action to protect civilians in Syria, including limited military action to enforce a no-bombing zone.

Stop the War similarly oppose British government proposals to bomb ISIS, but not because they would leave Assad alone; for Stop the War also oppose any action against Assad. This puts Stop the War against Syrians who are being bombed by Assad: it puts them not just against Syrian revolutionaries but also against Syrian doctors, against Syrian White Helmets rescue volunteers, and against Syrian civil society activists, all of whom call for international action to stop Assad’s bombs.

This is why Stop the War don’t want to listen to Syrians.

That is why we do not support their demonstration today.

 • WATCH: Syria Solidarity UK and Diane Abbott MP debate Stop the War Coalition’s silencing of Syrians

 • READ: A letter to David Cameron from Syrians in Britain


If Stop the War’s slogan “Don’t bomb Syria” is to have any meaning, let them demand the end of the regime whose bombs have killed so many.

If Stop the War oppose imperialism let them demonstrate their sincerity outside the Russian Embassy. Let them demonstrate with placards calling for Russia to stop bombing Syrian hospitals.


The vast majority of violent deaths of civilians documented by the Syrian Network for Human Rights since March 2011 have been attributed to Assad’s forces. The following figures from SNHR’s report, The Main Conflict Parties Who Are Killing Civilians in Syria, are for the period from March 2011 to the end of October 2015.

Civilians killed from March 2011 to Oct. 2015
By Assad forces: 180,879   95.96%
... armed opposition groups: 2,669 1.42%
... unidentified groups: 2,002 1.06%
... ISIS: 1,712 0.91%
... Kurdish self management forces: 379 0.2 %
... al-Nusra Front: 347 0.18%
... Russian forces: 263 0.14%
... International Coalition forces: 251 0.13%

The SNHR also release monthly reports. For October 2015 they documented the following numbers of violent civilian deaths.

Syrian civilians killed in October 2015 alone
By Assad forces: 793
... armed opposition groups: 45
... unidentified groups: 50
... ISIS: 53
... Kurdish self management forces:   10
... al-Nusra Front: 1
... Russian forces: 263
... International Coalition forces: 1

All reports can be found on the Syrian Network for Human Rights website: http://sn4hr.org/


  1. Many thanks for your principled stand in true solidarity with the Syrian people. Best regards from Minnesota CISPOS!

  2. You need to be a "lot" clearer on what you wish for, for Syria, as do all the people I have interacted with on Twitter please?

    Such as: @TheSyriaCmpgn @NFZSyria @freesyria74 @FreeingSyria @SyriaUK @tovfegh @snhr @PlanetSyria

    I took this, that you "do" wish for military, and someone who actually supported yesterday's "No War Protest" took this article to mean you did not wish 'any' action.

    There is no way of stopping Assad's bombs without military action. I object against military action, just against ISIS, which does not include Assad's Regime.

    You all "must" speak with 'one' voice because presently, those who wish to sit in apathy and deny the realities, will look for too many excuses not to take any action?

    There is an attitude prevalent of 'See no Evil, Hear no Evil, and Speak no Evil... which must be surmounted:



    Yours Sean Sebastian White

  3. From here:


    In the absence of further steps by the UN Security Council as a whole, and with permanent member Russia both arming Syria’s air force and also blocking collective Security Council action, individual states enjoying the privilege of permanent membership of the Security Council must take responsibility: specifically France, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

    These three states, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, have the proven ability to stop the Assad regime’s air attacks against civilians almost immediately. Whether individually or collectively, as an exceptional measure in support of purposes laid down by the UN Security Council in Resolution 2139, they must act to stop this slaughter.

    Such action to protect civilians would be legal according to the criteria used by the UK and NATO in the 1999 Kosovo intervention. It would also be practical: By issuing an ultimatum to deter further attacks, and by responding to any further attacks with planned strikes against regime air bases launched from beyond the range of Syrian air defences, Resolution 2139’s ban on barrel bombing could be enforced without any need to fly costly and risky interception patrols in Syrian airspace, and with low risk to both air crews and civilians on the ground.