FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Syria: Holding the Line Against the Forces of Hell

shutterstock_122493589

When future historians sit down to write the history of the Syrian conflict there is a simple test that will determine whether their objective is to mine and reveal the truth, or whether it is merely to shovel more dirt onto the mountain of the stuff that’s been erected over the course of its five long years as a monument to propaganda.

The test will be their depiction of the Syrian Arab Army and its role in the conflict. If said historians credit it with holding the line against the forces of hell that were committed to the country’s destruction as a secular, non sectarian, multi-religious and ethnic state, enduring the kind of losses and casualties placing it among the most courageous, resilient, and heroic of any army of any nation that has ever existed, then people will know that truth rather than propaganda has prevailed.

The glorification of war and conflict is difficult to resist for those living safely many miles away from its horrors and brutality. Those who do glorify it should take a moment to study and imbibe the words of Jeannette Rankin, who said: “You can no more win a war than you can win and earthquake.”

The war in Syrian confirms the abiding truth of those words when we consider the epic nature of the destruction it has wrought, the tragic human cost, and how it has shaken Syrian society to the very limits of endurance. It means that while the country’s survival as an independent non sectarian state may by now be certain, its ability to fully recover from the earthquake Rankin describes is something that only time will tell.

But the fact the country has managed to achieve its survival and, with it, the opportunity to recover is predominately the achievement of the Syrian Arab Army, whose complexion is a microcosm of the very society and people it has defended – Sunnis, Shia, Druze, Christians, Alawites, etc. In the process of doing so, as these words are being written, it has lost over 60,000 men according to the latest report by Robert Fisk, one of the more estimable Western correspondents based in the region. This is without factoring in the 1000-plus Hezbollah fighters who’ve been killed, along with Kurds and members of the various government-allied militia groups. It also does not include the tens of thousands who’ve been wounded or maimed.

But just think about this staggering statistic of 60,000 killed for a moment. In a country with a population before the conflict began of 25 million, and an army numbering in the region of 220,000 at full strength, the loss of 60,000 troops places the epic nature of the conflict in which they perished on a par with the Eastern Front during the Second World War.

Russian aid and solidarity has of course been a key factor in turning the tide of the Syrian conflict. But all the aid and solidarity in the world amounts little without a people and army’s will to resist the invasion of the country by thousands of extremists whose passions for butchering human beings in the most heinous ways imaginable qualifies their labelling as barbarians.

The salient point lost in the countless columns, reports, and op-eds that have been written and published, equating these barbarians with the Syrian government and its military, is that the Syrian Arab Army and Syrian people are one and the same in that one begins where the other ends and vice versa. The ability and willingness of the army to endure the battering it has, and which no other army in the region could have withstood, has been contingent on the support from the Syrian people. This support has been constant even in the midst of the huge external pressure arrayed against the country from Western powers that at one point were convinced that the army’s collapse and total defeat was only a matter of when and not if.

The current ceasefire, brokered by Russia and supported by Washington, takes place at a time when the conflict has turned emphatically in the government’s favour. During an offensive operation that began in early February, the SAA has smashed its way across the north of the country. Combined with an offensive launched by the multi-ethnic SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) in northern Aleppo province, it has effectively succeeded in encircling Aleppo city and cutting the main supply routes to the opposition forces in control of a large part of the city from Turkey. Given the number of armed factions involved in the conflict, the lack of any central command structure directing its activities, the fact that the ceasefire has thus far held with only a few minor violations is testament to the changed reality on the ground.

The machinations and plotting and mendacity of the Saudis and Turks – not forgetting their Western allies – have all come to naught in a country where every town and street, every hill, village, and road has been touched by war. It is proof that in the last analysis history is made not by governments, diplomats, or functionaries in palatial staterooms and chancelleries. It is made by ordinary men and women willing to fight and die in defence of their people, homes and communities, and whose honour in doing so contrasts with the dishonor of those who made the mistake of regarding Syria as just another piece on their geopolitical chessboard.

No one should ever underestimate the human cost of protecting Syria’s sovereignty and integrity. Do so and you denigrate those who have fallen and those who will undoubtedly fall as and when the fighting resumes. Neither should we underestimate the size of the mountain to climb before Syria is put back together when the guns eventually fall silent.

As one struggle ends another will begin.

This article originally appeared at American Herald Tribune.

More articles by:

John Wight is the author of a politically incorrect and irreverent Hollywood memoir – Dreams That Die – published by Zero Books. He’s also written five novels, which are available as Kindle eBooks. You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnWight1

February 20, 2019
Anthony DiMaggio
Withdrawal Pains and Syrian Civil War: An Analysis of U.S. Media Discourse
Charles Pierson
When Saudi Arabia Gets the Bomb
Doug Johnson Hatlem
“Electability” is Real (Unless Married with the Junk Science of Ideological Spectrum Analysis)
Kenneth Surin
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline: Another Boondoggle in Virginia
John Feffer
The Psychology of the Wall
Dean Baker
Modern Monetary Theory and Taxing the Rich
Russell Mokhiber
Citizens Arrested Calling Out Manchin on Rockwool
George Ochenski
Unconstitutional Power Grabs
Michael T. Klare
War With China? It’s Already Under Way
Thomas Knapp
The Real Emergency Isn’t About the Wall, It’s About the Separation of Powers
Manuel García, Jr.
Two Worlds
Daniel Warner
The Martin Ennals and Victorian Prize Winners Contrast with Australia’s Policies against Human Dignity
Norman Solomon
What the Bernie Sanders 2020 Campaign Means for Progressives
Dan Corjescu
2020 Vision: A Strategy of Courage
Matthew Johnson
Why Protest Trump When We Can Impeach Him?
William A. Cohn
Something New and Something Old: a Story Still Being Told
Bill Martin
The Fourth Hypothesis: the Present Juncture of the Trump Clarification and the Watershed Moment on the Washington Mall
February 19, 2019
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Troublesome Possibilities: The Left and Tulsi Gabbard
Patrick Cockburn
She Didn’t Start the Fire: Why Attack the ISIS Bride?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Literature and Theater During War: Why Euripides Still Matters
Maximilian Werner
The Night of Terror: Wyoming Game and Fish’s Latest Attempt to Close the Book on the Mark Uptain Tragedy
Conn Hallinan
Erdogan is Destined for Another Rebuke in Turkey
Nyla Ali Khan
Politics of Jammu and Kashmir: The Only Viable Way is Forward
Mark Ashwill
On the Outside Looking In: an American in Vietnam
Joyce Nelson
Sir Richard Branson’s Venezuelan-Border PR Stunt
Ron Jacobs
Day of Remembrance and the Music of Anthony Brown        
Cesar Chelala
Women’s Critical Role in Saving the Environment
February 18, 2019
Paul Street
31 Actual National Emergencies
Robert Fisk
What Happened to the Remains of Khashoggi’s Predecessor?
David Mattson
When Grizzly Bears Go Bad: Constructions of Victimhood and Blame
Julian Vigo
USMCA’s Outsourcing of Free Speech to Big Tech
George Wuerthner
How the BLM Serves the West’s Welfare Ranchers
Christopher Fons
The Crimes of Elliot Abrams
Thomas Knapp
The First Rule of AIPAC Is: You Do Not Talk about AIPAC
Mitchel Cohen
A Tale of Two Citations: Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” and Michael Harrington’s “The Other America”
Jake Johnston
Haiti and the Collapse of a Political and Economic System
Dave Lindorff
It’s Not Just Trump and the Republicans
Laura Flanders
An End to Amazon’s Two-Bit Romance. No Low-Rent Rendezvous.
Patrick Walker
Venezuelan Coup Democrats Vomit on Green New Deal
Natalie Dowzicky
The Millennial Generation Will Tear Down Trump’s Wall
Nick Licata
Of Stress and Inequality
Joseph G. Ramsey
Waking Up on President’s Day During the Reign of Donald Trump
Elliot Sperber
Greater Than Food
Weekend Edition
February 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies
Chris Floyd
Pence and the Benjamins: An Eternity of Anti-Semitism
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail