Created: Thursday, 21 April 2016 14:53
Written by Toby Harbertson
19 May 2016 marks 100 years since the signing of the Sykes-Picot agreement, when British and French diplomats carved up the Middle East, laying the basis for a century of regional oppression and war. March 2016 marked five years of brutal war in Syria, with the NATO imperialist powers, and their regional allies, fuelling and funding insurgents to overthrow the government of Bashar Assad. They have created one of the most destructive wars in decades, which has sent millions of refugees fleeing the country. NATO’s campaign has disastrously failed. Brutal jihadists including the Islamic State group (IS) and the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat Al Nusra (JN) have dominated the opposition. The Syrian state is still standing with support from Russia and regional allies. Major Syrian victories against the opposition are mounting, with the crucial liberation of Palmyra at the end of March. In recognition of this reality, the major imperialists talk once again of redrawing borders, this time the division of Syria along sectarian lines. Toby Harbertson reports.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the withdrawal of the majority of Russian military forces from Syria on 14 March. Since intervening in Syria on 30 September 201imp5 on request from the Syrian government, the Russian military has succeeded in tipping the balance of the war against the imperialist-backed rebels. Russia has provided airstrikes to support ground offensives carried out by the Syrian army – with Hezbollah, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Shia militias from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan – which have cut off the supply lines of rebels operating from Turkey, and recaptured much of Aleppo province. On 25 March, the Syrian army re-entered the important central city of Palmyra – which dominated headlines in May 2015 when IS occupied the city and began to destroy the city’s unique archaeology. The liberation of Palmyra, with the support of Russian airstrikes, marks the biggest defeat for IS forces since Kurdish forces defeated them at Kobane. The US launched just two airstrikes against IS in the battle for Palmyra, demonstrating its reluctance to fight IS when it might lead to Syrian government gains.
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