Stand in solidarity with the Syrian people against dictatorship, foreign intervention and racism – statement

Protesters in Idlib, January 2020 – ‘We are in solidarity with our people in Suwayda until victory’ Photo: Bilal Bayyoush


Ten years ago this month, protests erupted across Syria against the security forces’ brutality, inspired by the wave of uprisings around the region which had already brought down dictators in Tunisia and Egypt. Within weeks they had escalated into a nation-wide revolutionary uprising, which mobilised hundreds of thousands of people to demand a different Syria: one which was more democratic, more equal and more just. The Assad regime’s response was brutally violent, unleashing a counter-revolutionary war against towns and cities which rebelled. Despite the horrific repression, activists continued to develop creative forms of protest and defiance, created alternative local councils, and mobilised to offer services to those in need, even when under siege. As the regime escalated its sectarian propaganda, designed to pit ordinary people against each other, many activists worked to offer an alternative of solidarity between Syria’s different religious communities. 

With the help of external powers such as Iran and Russia, the Assad regime has survived, at the cost of at least 400,000 dead and millions of refugees. The Gulf states have backed different armed Islamist factions while Turkey has invaded northern Syria three times since 2016, displacing hundreds of thousands of people. Meanwhile, military intervention by the US and its allies, in the name of fighting the Islamic State, has further intensified the conflict, increasing the agony of the Syrian people. 

In times like these, it is more important than ever to make a public stand against both the Assad dictatorship and the intervention of foreign powers, whether those allied to the regime, or opposed to it. It is also vital to call out the hypocrisy of those politicians in Europe and America who support military intervention in Syria, yet refuse to offer support and refuge to the millions of Syrians who have been forced to leave their homes by war and repression. 

We stand with Syrian refugees against the racism and discrimination they face in exile. We stand with the struggle for democracy, social justice and freedom in Syria, and oppose all forms of foreign intervention. 

Names will be published online here and circulated on social media. Please leave your email address if you would like updates on this campaign from MENA Solidarity

Initial signatories include:
Carlo Morelli, President UCU Scotland; Sandy Nicoll, SOAS Unison and NEC member, Higher Education (pc); Christine Buchholz, Member of the German Parliament, die LINKE; Sally Kincaid, National Executive member, National Education Union; Marion Hersh, UCU National Executive Committee, Scotland, Ann Swinney, UCU Scotland Honorary Secretary; Professor Megan Povey, University of Leeds and Leeds UCU; Filip Ilkowski, PhD, Habil., Univeristy of Warsaw, Member of Bureau of the Council of Higher Education and Science of the Polish Teachers’ Union (pc) Saladin Meckled-Garcia, Vice-President UCL UCU; Ghayath Naisse, Coordinator, Revolutionary Left Current, Syria; Professor Emeritus Alex Callinicos, Kings College London; Jwan AlYoussef, Member of the Board of Directors, Kurdish Committee for Human Rights; Miriam Scharf, Newham District NEU; Anne Alexander, Research Fellow, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge and Cambridge UCU; Geoff Brown, UCU; Tom Hickey, Committee member, British Committee for the Universities of Palestine; Kambiz Boomla, Queen Mary University of London, Senior Clinical Lecturer (pc); Julie Hearn, Equality Officer, UCU Lancaster University; Anna Livingstone, Barts Health UNITE Treasurer and Vice-Chair, Tower Hamlets BMA Division; Professor Kate Alexander, South African Research Chair in Social Change, University of Johannesberg; Roddy Slorach, Branch Organiser, UCU, Imperial College London; Sean Wallis, UCL UCU Branch President; Mark Abel, University of Brighton UCU Branch Chair and NEC elect; Bee Hughes, Liverpool John Moores University UCU Branch Chair, NEC elect; Saira Weiner; UCU NEC; Lesley McGorrigan, University of Leeds and UCU NEC; Professor Craig Brandist, University of Sheffield; Patrick Conellan, UCU; Leo Zeilig, University of London; Barry Purchese; Josephine Penrose; Sheila Cullen, University of Brighton, UCU Health and Safety Rep; Carolyn Egan, United Steelworkers Toronto Area Council; Nadia Edmond, University of Brighton UCU committee member, Lene Junker, Internationale Socialister, Denmark; Susie Cabrillana; Martin Moore; Caroline Norman; David Fellows, Stand up to Racism; Professor D Phillips, University of Brighton; Annette Lassey; Kevin Reynolds, University of Brighton; Professor Bob Brecher, University of Brighton; James Dickins; Jack Fellows; Elizabeth Lawrence, Branch Secretary Yorkshire and Humberside RMB UCU; Mark Newman, UCL UCU; N Vittal, Member UCL UCU Executive, Richard Bradbury, Vice-President, Open University UCU;

Add your name to this statement

Please note names will not appear automatically. The above is a subset of signatures that have already been collected.

What you can do:

  • raise this issue in your trade union branch, your students’ union, or other organisation to add formal support for the statement
  • ask the members of the Executive Committees of your trade union or the NUS to add their names;
  • consider organising a meeting for your organisation or group on the Syrian Revolution, and asking MENA Solidarity to supply a speaker