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Sunday, 22 May 2016

To the participants and organisers of the ‘Crossing Borders’ Conference

Refugees conference invites Assad supporter as keynote speaker

The Cooperative Institute for Transnational Studies in collaboration with the University of Aegean (Laboratory EKNEXA-Department of Sociology) have announced a conference on the refugee crisis, ‘Crossing Borders,’ in Lesvos, Greece, on 7-10th July.

We are very concerned to note that the list of speakers includes Tim Anderson, a supporter of the Assad regime, for the reasons given in the open letter below.

UPDATE 2 June 2016: Following circulation of this open letter, the organisers of the Crossing Borders conference reversed their decision and disinvited Tim Anderson, without issuing a statement. Now it appears they have reversed yet again and reinvited him, still without issuing a statement.

Asked for comment via Twitter, conference organiser Maria Nikolakaki linked with no further comment to a petition by a pro Assad group in the US.

To the participants and organisers of the ‘Crossing Borders’ Conference

Your conference has been brought to our attention as one of your keynote speakers is outspoken Assad regime supporter, Tim Anderson. As the vast majority of Syrian refugees are fleeing the brutal oppression of the Assad regime, it is extremely disquieting to see an open supporter of the regime invited to speak at the conference.

Anderson has been open about his beliefs, having written numerous articles defending the Assad regime, published an ebook titled ‘The Dirty War on Syria’ and has taken part in a ‘solidarity’ delegation to visit Syria in December 2013 where he met with Bashar al-Assad. That Anderson chose to visit Syria after the regime had committed the August 22nd chemical weapons massacre against civilians in the suburbs of Damascus, shows his real level of concern for the lives of Syrian civilians. Academics who provide political cover for dictatorships should not be invited to participate in conferences concerning refugees fleeing those dictatorships.

We also note the conference does not appear to have any Syrian activists invited to speak, despite the violent suppression of the Syrian revolution being one of the central drivers of the refugee crisis. The conference statement actually makes no mention of the Assad regime at all, despite its central responsibility for the Syrian exodus. The fact the conference is sponsored by the Stop The War Coalition and stopimperialism.org, two organisations which have been unwilling to condemn or criticise the actions of the regime, causes us further concern.

We call on the conference organisers to disinvite Tim Anderson and issue a strong statement condemning the repression of the Assad regime against the Syrian people. If they are unwilling to do this, we call on other participants like Paul Mason and Nina Power, activists who are committed to the struggle for social change and against oppression, not to participate in the conference alongside known regime apologists. We welcome discussion and debate about the causes and solutions to the refugee crisis, but pro-regime apologists should not be a part of this discussion.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Boothroyd, Syria Solidarity UK
Yasmine Nahlawi, Rethink Rebuild, Syrian Community of Manchester
Dr Sharif Kaf Al-Ghazal, Syrian Association of Yorkshire
Dr Mohammad Alhadj Ali, Syrian Welsh Society
Amer Masri, Scotland4Syria
Dr Abdullah Hanoun, Syrian Community South West
Oz Katerji, Journalist
James Bloodworth, Journalist and Author
Emanuel Stoakes, Journalist
Richard Seymour, Author
Thomas Pierret, Lecturer, University of Edinburgh
Hussein Kesvani, Journalist
Eliot Higgins, Bellingcat
Shakeeb Al-Jabri, Syrian activist
Tom Dale, Journalist
Idrees Ahmad, Lecturer, University of Stirling
Razan Ghazzawi, Syrian activist
Nick Cohen, Journalist
Tom Rollins, Journalist
James Sadri, The Syria Campaign
Shiraz Maher, King’s College London
Sharif Nashashibi, Journalist
Thomas van Linge, Researcher
Şenay Özden, Hamisch Syrian Cultural House in Istanbul
Robin Yassin-Kassab, Writer
Joseph Daher, Syrian-Swiss activist and academic
Antony Loewenstein, Journalist and author
Thomas Rieger
Jamie Dettmer, Journalist
Paul Raymond, Journalist
Kyle Orton, Journalist
Patrick Hilsman, Journalist
Molly Crabapple, Artist and author
Heydon Prowse, Broadcaster
Sam Charles Hamad, Journalist
Luke Cooper, Lecturer in Politics
Danny Postel, ​Center for Middle East Studies, University of Denver
Lydia Wilson, Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford
Haid Haid, Syrian researcher
Dr Jamie Allinson, Lecturer, University of Edinburgh
Michael Karadjis, University of Western Sydney
Maroin Al Dandachi, French-Syrian Student
Dr Rola Hallam, Doctor and humanitarian
Bissan Fakih, The Syria Campaign
Kenan Rahmani, Activist
Kelly Grotke, Cornell University
Clay Claiborne, Director
James Snell, Blogger
Henry Langston, Journalist
Fionn Travers-Smith, Campaigner
Charles Davis, Journalist
Clara Connolly, Women4Syria
Jafar Hassan, Green Party
Louis N Proyect
Andy Wilson
Yasser Munif, Syrian activist, Emerson College
Dr Ludek Stavinoha, University of East Anglia
Dr Francis Sedgemore, Journalist and science writer
Pete Klosterman, Humanitarian
Annie Power
Andreas Graube, Activist
Rosalind Stewart
Fred Mecklenburg
Paul Canning, Blogger and activist
Jonathan Brown, Liberal Democrats for Syrian Freedom, Peace & Reconstruction
Natalie Sedacca, Civil liberties lawyer
David Spiers, Jnr
Henry Lowi
Zachary Medeiros, Student, Socialist Party USA
Rafif Jouejati, FREE-Syria Foundation
Stanley Heller, The Struggle Video News
Bassam Barabandi, former Syrian diplomat, co-founder of People Demand Change
Dr Gregory Kent, Roehampton University London
Eric and Philippa Kempson, The Hope Centre, Lesvos
Zoe Gardner, Asylum Aid
Mariam Barghouti, Palestinian writer

PDF version.

If you would like to add your support to this letter, please contact: info@syriauk.org

Picture: Tim Anderson meeting Assad in Damascus, December 2013.


  1. give voice to all. even to those who tell the truth!
    stop supporting "moderate rebels" - stop the killers!
    you are all corrupters! God bless Syria AND ALL PEOPLE that struggle against terrorists that you will continue in calling moderate rebels!

    stop supporting "moderate rebels"
    you are all corrupters!

  2. This is beyond the absurd, it is one thing for the US State Department spokesman to lie himself into a corner but quite another for you lot to lie with a fake humanitarian cover.

    By now - 5 years into the imposed war ON Syria - the informed public knows very well how NATO & GCC fund and arm Daesh / ISIS / "Moderate Rebels". The evidence is crystal clear from video, to documents, satellite imagery and more.

    President Asad is the legitimate elected ruler of Syria with the Syrian Arab Army the only legitimate resistance to Takfiri Jihadis sponsored by the UK/US/France and assorted vassal states. This is plain as day for any independent observer to see.

    The Goebbelesque propaganda that is being conducted on this site will one day be questioned in a court of law. All monsters feel invincible at the top of their game. But Syria with its allies in Iran and Russia along with the MAJORITY of the world will endure to victory.

    And the names that have signed to this war propaganda will forever be remembered for their part in the Syrian genocide.

    Avaaz, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch , White Helmets et al. are mere fronts for the 31 flavours of Takfiri Jihadis and the world knows it. Maybe the neocon germ has infected you so deeply that you think you can re-write history in your own Jihadi image? But such thinking is foolish and bound to fall flat eventually.

    Shame on you for your blatant support for Al Qaeda and ISIS.

  3. Thanks for the cowardly attack, British SWP and hangers-on, siding with Washington, as usual, to cover up the ugly truth about these dirty wars.

  4. Perhaps you should read Anderson´s ebook. The chemical attacks were carried out by the "moderate rebels", as was proven by UN inspectors and MIT´s experts. If you are banning an academic while peddling this outrageous lie and propaganda line your motivations become way too obvious.

  5. The ultimate terrorist is Asad and his terrorist allies - they kill, rape, torture , bomb and destroy anyone who refuses to bow down to his fanatical murderous regime. As any one with the slightest bit of knowledge or experience in Syria will know you are not allowed an opinion contrary to that of the dictator Asad regime or else you will be tortured and raped to death. That is why the Syrian revolution started before Asad attempted to divert it and spoil it using his friends and allies of Daesh, as well as the terrorist regime in Tehran and the mass murderer Putin (what a collection of friends!!).

    1. Nothing but lies, you know nothing about Syria. The people love Assad and his decent, loyal honorable army protects the people.

      You probably believe the stupid barrel bomb nonsense, those primitive devices that are used by the terrorists you love so much.

      Why are you a terrorist lover YR????

      Probably an ameriKKKan, one of the founders of ISIS is ameriKKKans.

    2. Excuse me, but aren't you one of those that refuse to bow down before the "fanatical murderous regime"? Why haven't you been killed, raped, tortured, bombed and destroyed? Come to think of it, why does NATO report that 70-80% of Syrians support the "fanatical murderous regime"? Perhaps these people are confused and think that the "fanatical murderous regime" refers to the kind and gentle terrorists with whom you may be associated.

    3. The Syrian people hate the terrorist, murderous regime of Asad and his buddies in Daesh, no matter what some ignorant non-Syrian people living in the west think.
      The Syrian people will defeat Bashar and his fascist regime.
      Asad tortures, rapes, murders, imprisons, bombs (including barrel bombs on civilian areas) and generally butchers as many as he can of the Syrian people who oppose his family rule.

      He is being propped up by his own Alawite minority sect as well as the Iranians and now the Russians. He will fall, God willing, it's just a matter of time.
      Viva Syria, Viva the revolution.

    4. You can't get it that the majority of the people in Syria support their President, government and the Syrian Arab Army. It is not that you are ignorant of the situation, it is because you clearly support the terrorists and Empire who are causing genocide and massive destruction. You are a war criminal for promoting war propaganda.

    5. You are obviously a liar and a non-Syrian, the majority of Syrians and nearly all of the Syrian Arab Sunni majority hate Asad and his hereditary terrorist regime which is supported and maintained by the known terrorist regime in Iran. Russia, also essentially a dictatorship, and also a well experienced terrorist state also support Bashar Asad and his clan-controlled terrorist regime.

      Despite all of this terrorist support for Bashar and despite also having to fight Daesh at the same time and despite the USA not providing enough military support for the Syrian people - despite all this the Syrian people and their revolution will defeat this horrible dictatorship.

      Shame on whoever supports Asad and terrorism over freedom and The People.

    6. Also ALL the noble Arabs in the Syrian Arab Army have DEFECTED to the revolutionaries and are fighting the terrorist regime of Asad.
      There are no Arabs fighting for Bashar only the Iranian state terrorists, Iraqi shite terrorist militias, Afghan and Pakistani shites and even the the Alawis (Bahsar's peoples) are non-Muslims and non-Arabs - they are originally gypsies or something and they came over hundreds of years ago - they hate the Arabs (especially Syrian Arabs) and Islam.
      They worship Bashar and the Asad clan but unfortunately for them, the rest of the Syrians (Sunni Arabs, Christian Arabs, Sunni Kurds etc) don't.

  6. Who are you to start with? I can only see the French mandate flag in your logos and you are talking about solidarity with Syria? You claim to hold a humanitarian conference on the crisis, which you have yourself created with the fund and weapons of your terrorist masters and allies. Dr. Anderson is the only guest speaker who has the knowledge and integrity to speak about Syria. Consider listening to him when he speaks in the conference, you might learn something!

    1. Its not the French mandate flag its the flag of the first independent Syrian republic; the flag you support isn't even Syrian.

  7. The Left Boots of NATO, including Louis Proyect, can't deal with the actual evidence about their moderate head-choppers and organ-eaters...
    So, of course they want to ban Dr. Anderson.

  8. under a banner of #listentosyrians SSUK ignores the syrian people, who support president Assad the govt and SAA...SSUK prefers to support the 'syrian rebels' be they FSA SNC or alnusra Go to syria and speak to syrians: then you will find who it is they support

    1. These terrorist lovers are probably celebrating today those attacks that their beloved "moderate terrorists" killed and injured hundreds of people including entering the hospital treating victims and blowing that up.

      Are you proud???

      I bet none of these Charlies are crying for Syrian victims, they only cry for terrorists.

  9. perhaps you should change name of your group to 'solidarity with syrian terrorists - uk '

    how pathetic that you want to boycott one speaker who counters your propaganda.

  10. What next?Danny Dayem showing up with another fake gun shot wound.
    Maybe Elliot Higgin's will show us some pictures he drew in crayon,or Rola Hallam can give us some acting lessons.These people are the problem not the solution.

  11. Agents of regime change supporting terrorism in Syria. Your days as empire divas are numbered. The Syrian people see through your lies and your subterfuge, they are paying for your betrayal with their blood but the truth will keep revealing itself and you know it. Fear drives your petition, fear drives your exclusion of one of the most powerful voices defending Syrian sovereignty and we all see it. Pathetic.

  12. You need to take stronger action. Please boycott this conference and set up a parallel one, inviting your allies and the real peacemakers, like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Hillary Clinton, Abu Muhammed al-Jawlani, Manuel Valls, Hashem (abu Jaber) al-Sheikh, Benjamin Netanyahu, Mohammed Alloush, Recep Tayyip Ergogan, Yousef al-Qaradawi and Salman al-Saud.

  13. This is just another Regimechange-Forum against Syria. You Lies are well documented. Stop your Propaganda ! Stop your Support for Terrorists! I'ts a Shame ! Mario Heinemann Jaillet

  14. The essence of fascism and totalitarianism, the essence of ISIS terrorists is to either silence or kill all those who have a different opinion.

    Every single person signing this petition may as well declare that they are ISIS terrorists and shame on them that the concept of free speech is an alien concept to them.

    Let Tim Anderson speak. He knows much more than all of you combined about the situation in Syria.

    Perhaps you should worry about the bloody dictator in Washington.

  15. Rename this place TERRORIST SOLIDARITY because that's exactly what it is.

    Bellingcat??? Biggest liar and fabricator on the face of the Earth.

  16. Indeed this group should be called UK Solidarity with Terrorists in Syria. Joining the Empire and terrorists chorus, barrackng for 'regime change'and the destruction of Syria. Shame.

  17. I cannot find proper words to describe that... while Syria Solidarity UK declares their humanitarian and impartial cause, it denies right to speak for one of the leading experts on Syria, senior lecturer Tim anderson. I am... wordless

  18. Rename this place TERRORIST SOLIDARITY! Tim Anderson is telling the truth. It is a dirty War on Syria and you änd this "FakeSolidarityForum" are criminals. you lie without scruple. A Shame! Viva Syria !long live the President Bashar al-Assad . Mario Heinemann Jaillet

  19. This is awfull banning people who telling the truth about Syria.. This organisation is lying and its journalist who accept this invitation are collaberating in destroying Syria and its people.. To promote a jihadist revolution

  20. May I respectfully recommend that you keep Professor Anderson as a keynote speaker - if for no other reason than to expand your vocabulary beyond the rather silly AngloZio coined 'Assad Regime' mantra that you have yodelled in every other sentence here..... much like 'Snackbars' we hear the proxy force 'moderate' headchoppers and 'moderate' cannibals yodelling as they slaughter and destroy on behalf of AngloZio Empire, their neighbouring ZioStan expansionist colony of JS Juhadis - import colonial extremist twins of IS Jihadis purporting 'divine right' to slaughter and steal, and stoneage Saudi & Qatar "democratic" vassals.
    You might even learn that like the Afghan, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia etc etc PNAC wars, Syrian war was planned in Washington and London pre 0911.
    And that like the coup formula seen used since the first 0911 in 1973 (Chile), never more evident than in the "F--k the EU" coup in Ukraine, the Anglos modus operandi is straight out of a serial rapist paedophile priesthood handbook:
    - Stand in the pulpit and preach from the Gospel of Democracy; demonise this one like the devil; that one Satan and all are "Evil Dictators" (but not the Saudi & other beloved 'democratic' monarchs!)
    - Issue a religious shunning order (a sort of Christian Fatwa) to isolate and weaken the target of rape by way of economic sanctions .. to cause extreme hardship on the people, make it easier to recruit malcontents with bribes and promise of "Freedom and Democracy and the American Dream". You can read the Anglo Ambassador Wiki cables and see e.g. Ambassador Roebuck being the usual Anglo COUP PIMP.
    - Use every dirty trick and warfare in the book ... like water warfare with Golan water supply cut off, Euphrates reduced to minimum - amidst a very strange 4year worst drought in living memory
    - Use NGO's to deliver "charity" of infiltrating and instigating professional "peaceful riots" as well as in Syria outright massacres of police and military
    - Have on hand the CNN - AJ -BiBiC Goebbellean freaks and hired / selected actors to scream "He's Killing His People"
    Well, same old formula and same old neoSykes Picot colonial divide and fragment and conquer, except the AngloZio paedophile priesthood rapists now so fat and lazy, they use proxy Moslems to kill Moslems & Levant Christians, to do the depopulation & fragmenting into small weak sectarian Bantu-stans for them ... no spilling nice white boys and girls blood! Or, they 'lead from behind' poor conscripts and as we see in Europe now, line up fool Slavs and EUnuchs.
    Thus is the modus operandi of the AngloZios.
    Pretty disgusting really.
    And only fools would imagine that Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia and every other nation blighted by Anglo Empire's rape and plunder has seen anything like freedom and democracy.
    But of course - lets all repeat repeat repeat "Assad Regime" and "Evil Dictator" like some demented parrots in place of actually THINKING.

  21. You people are pathetic.

    For an organisation that reserves the right to veto the speaking list of a conference that promotes itself as critical of imperialism, the irony is that the SSUK are firmly in favour of direct imperialist aggression against Syria in the form of a ‘no fly zone’ which in the case of Libya was cited and used as a pretext by NATO to terrorise the Libyan government into submission on behalf of NATO’s proxy death-squads who in turn committed major atrocities across Libya, including the mass lynching of Black Libyans – if the SSUK had it their way then we'd have WW3.

    At a time when the Russian airforce is involved in defending the Syrian government against this imperialist-backed terrorist onslaught, the SSUK still calls on the UK to ‘eliminate Assad's air force through military action’ which can only mean a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia, both nuclear powers.

    An organisation like the SSUK, one which effectively believes that the selfish ambitions of their ruling class is worth more than the potential human cost of nuclear world war, deserves to be collectively spat on by the entirety of progressive humanity, not lauded as moral judges.

    What kind of Greek Left capitulates to fascist and imperialist collaborators like the SSUK?

    They belong in a well in Meligala.