The counter revolution in Syria is nearing a new stage.
On the one hand, it has kettled all the active opposition it can into Idlib province. Along with their Russian sponsors, they will unleash unholy terror on the people in that province through a bombing campaign. Once they have accomplished their terrorist aims with that campaign, then the Assad regime along with Putin, will try to market the claim that the war is now over, that Syria is stabilized, that a peace treaty has been agreed to, and that international agencies should recognize this and now start the difficult process of lending money to Assad while international investors should start investing there.
Murdered in prison
As part of that campaign, they had to start releasing the names of those prisoners who have died in prison. Or, more accurately, have been murdered. Only family members of a prisoner are allowed to get the record of a prisoner, however. Here is a report from Syriaaccountability.org on what is happening:
“According to SJAC’s documentation, hundreds of such records have been updated in the Damascus countryside, Hama, Hasakah, Homs, and Latakia. These records list dates of death from throughout the conflict, and in some cases are accompanied by documentation with signatures from government hospitals. Muadamiyat al-Sham, a town of 50,000 in the countryside of Damascus, has been informed of the deaths of a staggering five hundred former residents. [italics added] Recently released names have included high-profile political activists, including leading non-violent activist Yahya Shurbaji, who was detained in 2011. His family announcedthis week that they recently received confirmation of his death at the infamous Saydnaya Prison on January 15, 2013, the same date of death listed for at least three other detainees at the same prison [italics added], further discrediting the government’s claim of natural causes…. Since an immediate family member needs to be present to make an inquiry at the civil registry, many refugee families are left without a way of inquiring after their disappeared relatives, and report that many lawyers who could inquire on their behalf are unwilling to do so, as they do not want their inquiry recorded by the government.”
The next step in normalizing the terrorist Assad regime will be an attempt to force the millions of Syrian refugees to return. Here, again, is the Syrian Justice and Accountability Center’s report on that: “In recent months, Syria and its backers have begun to shift their policy and rhetoric, preparing for an end to the conflict, or at least the perception of an end. The government is releasing the names of detainees who died in government prisons, passing legislation in preparation for reconstruction, and most recently, calling for the return of refugees. Such a return would signal to the world that Syria is safe and stable, and by removing Syrian refugees from Europe and neighboring countries, it could reduce international interest in the conflict, allowing the government to operate under decreased scrutiny. However, discussions about refugee returns are premature; Syrian refugees still face a credible fear for their lives in returning to Syria. Moreover, the right to return, which should be universal, is currently being selectively offered by the Syrian government, and there are concerns that some returns may not be voluntary.”
Germany, for example, has ruled that Afghanistan is safe and, therefore, all Afghan refugees are economic not political refugees and must return to Afghanistan. Further down the road, they may take this position regarding Syrian refugees. Other countries may do he same, or they and international agencies may simply stop providing what little aid is provided now to Syrian refugees.
Wanted: 10 million trusted, obedient Syrians; 3 million to be jailed and/or killed not a major difficulty
What awaits returnees is indicated by the reported comments of the head of the Syrian Air force Intelligence administration, Jamil al-Hassan. According to the Syria Observer, ‘Hassan’s speech, which began with the trumpeting of victories, moved into a discussion about a future plan to stimulate a new phase of the conflict….
‘The future plan includes a number of sections that have been established according to priorities developed by the regime’s senior leadership. It begins with the removal of everything that could affect them in the future, or undermine their work internally. All those concluded to be a hinderance to the plan and its future will be labeled as “terrorists” by the regime’s senior leadership. Whether their crime was in speech or in action, or even if they remained silent, they will be considered a terrorist and prosecuted publicly or secretly.
‘The Head of the Air Force Intelligence said that more than three million Syrians are wanted and their judicial cases were ready. He added that “the huge number of people wanted will not be a major difficulty in achieving the plan.
“A Syria with 10 million trustworthy people obedient to the leadership is better than a Syria with 30 million vandals,” as he put it.’
ISIS Will Remain
Nor is it likely that ISIS/Daesh will be eliminated. Assad has been playing a dirty game, “opposing” Islamic fundamentalism or encouraging it when and where it suits him. One of the latest examples is the massacre committed by ISIS of Druze in Sweida province in Syria. The Daily Beast reports that this massacre was evidently carried out with the cooperation of Assad’s soldiers. According to Druze leaders, Assad encouraged the massacre in retaliation for the Druze in Suweida having refused to enlist in the Syrian army to carry out the final assault in Idlib.
This continued presence may give US imperialism the excuse it wants to keep its troops in Syria in alliance with the PYD. As for Russian imperialism, after participating in some of the most monstrous war crimes of this century, it is likely to now be seeking profitable investments and/or a means of developing further military bases there. The Israeli regime seems to be working towards a deal with Assad. That deal amounts to an agreement that Hezbollah and/or any Iranian forces will be kept a set distance away from the Israeli occupied sector of the Golan Heights. On this basis, some sort of peace deal may be agreed to by the United Nations.
Syrians “only” Arabs, but will rise again
This will then be celebrated by much of the left, from Code Pink, which simply wants “peace”, any peace including the peace of the graveyard, to the more openly pro-Assad groups like Veterans for Peace and “journalists” like Robert Fisk and Chris Hedges. Meanwhile, back in Syria, ethnic cleansing and mass state terror will remain the order of the day. But what does that matter? They are only Arabs, after all, and not even famous ones at that.
This is not the end of the story, though. Far from it. The nightmare visited on the Syrian people by the Assad regime and its open allies – Russian and Iranian imperialism – as well as its slightly more covert ally – US imperialism – will not be forgotten. Somehow, the Syrian people will rise again. Maybe in connection with the ongoing struggles of the Iranian working class. Or maybe through some other avenue. But in the end, “you can jail revolutionaries, but you can’t jail the revolution.”