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Stop the War Coalition ignores Assad’s war crimes

Bid to silence Syrian democrats. No support for human rights defenders

London, UK – 10 December 2015
Guardian Letters: http://gu.com/p/4fvnx/stw

We write as previous strong supporters of the Stop the War Coalition (StWC) and applaud its mobilisation against the disastrous UK and US attack on Iraq.

Sadly, since then, on the issue of Syria, the StWC has lost its moral compass and authority (Green MP Caroline Lucas steps down from Stop the War Coalition role, 8 December).

The StWC has failed to organise or support protests against the Assad dictatorship and the regime’s massacre of peaceful democracy protesters in 2011 – and since. Nor has it shown solidarity with the non-violent Syrian civil society movements for democracy and human rights and with the millions of innocent civilians killed, wounded and displaced by Assad’s barrel bombs and torture chambers. It portrays ISIS as the main threat to Syrians, despite Assad killing at least six times more civilians.

The StWC has repeatedly refused to have anti-Assad Syrian democrats and left-wingers on its platforms at events where Syria is being discussed; whereas it has offered a platform to pro-Assad speakers such as Issa Chaer and Mother Agnes.

Moreover, the StWC intervened to stop a Syrian Solidarity UK speaker from addressing the major ‘Migrant Lives Matter’ rally in London in April.

It has one-sidedly failed to support demonstrations against the escalating Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah military interventions in Syria.

As well as systematically ignoring war crimes committed by the Assad regime, the StWC often misrepresents the opposition to Assad as being largely composed of jihadi extremists and agents of imperialism; marginalising the non-violent, secular, democratic, local community and non-aligned opposition to his tyranny.

It also misrepresents the call by Syrian civil society organisations for civilian safe havens and humanitarian corridors; claiming they are calls for western bombing, when they are actually bids to stop Assad’s bombs and save lives.

We urge the StWC to take on board these constructive criticisms and change its stance to support the Syrian people’s struggle against the war being inflicted on them by both ISIS and Assad.