Special interview with Wessam Kahel, member of the International Relations Committee of the Communist Youth Union of Syria - Bakdash.
WK: I would like to give some information from the latest events. The 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, 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 gained against Daesh (ISIS) this time.
In the south, there are the main terrorist organizations, the al-Nusra Front which is affiliated to Al-Qaeda, and also some other smaller terrorist organizations controlled by the al-Nusra Front.
In the west of Aleppo, there have also been progressions towards al-Raqqah, 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 in the west, there is the Islamic Front, an organization controlled by the Saudi-Arabia. The leader of this organization has been killed in an operation of Syria and Russia. His name was Zehran Hallush. This clearly means a very big problem for this organization since they depend only to one person, not to an ideology.
In the south of Damascus, Daraa, near to Jordan and Israel, where there is also al-Nusra Front, the Syrian army has regained control of many big cities and important places. This is a very broad region but the Syrian army has had much progress in all of these places.
In the middle of Syria, in Homs, there was a very small base where the rebels were grounded. The Syrian army has circled them, fought and made these rebels leave the city. Homs is now clear. The countryside towards Lebanon is also clear.
ICP: What about Palmyra?
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. The Syrian army has had to draw back as they did not want the artifacts got damaged. It is still under the control of ISIS, but the Syrian army is situated 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, unfortunately... As you know, Daesh and the other organizations have no ideology, no humanity, no reason; they kill and fight, they destroy every historical thing, this is because they are reactionary organizations with reactionary ideas, which also could 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 struggle in such difficult conditions, how do you consider the Russian intervention and the roles of some others like Hezbollah, or Iran, who say they are opposing the American imperialism?
WK: We recognize that Russia is now a capitalist country, it is not USSR anymore. But we also know that the actual enemy now is 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 people of Syria more and more power against the organizations fighting our people and our army.
From the beginning of this military intervention, it is 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 Hezbollah 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 struggle against the imperialist attack. And also it provides us some time.
ICP: What about the activities of the Union (Communist Youth Union of Syria – Bakdash)? We assume that you are actively involved in the defense 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 organization?
WK: In some places, we cannot move, cannot do anything, it is “die or leave”. There, we have to hold the 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: the first part is under the big banner “Syria will not kneel” which was created by our historical leader Khalid 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 the rights of the Syrian youth”. It is related to our economic and social struggle against the economic liberalism of our government. We are against the liberalization 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 nationalization 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 “Khalid Bakdash meetings” in which we invite progressive artists, singers. Also as the organization, we have discussions and analysis about 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 the “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 never give up...