“We are no less than the Paris commune workers: they resisted for 70 days and we are still going on for a year and a half.” Omar Aziz, 2012
On 18 March 2021 people around the globe will be commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune. On this date, ordinary men and women claimed power for themselves, took control of their city and ran their own affairs independently from the state for over two months before being crushed in a Bloody Week by the French government in Versailles. The Communards’ experiment in autonomous, democratic self-organization, as a means to both resist state tyranny and to create a radical alternative to it, holds an important place in the collective imaginary and has provided inspirat... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) List of Abbreviations
Activists News Association
Arab Socialist Party
Committees for the Defense of Democratic Freedoms and Human Rights in Syria
Free Syrian Army
Gulf Cooperation Council
Human Rights Association in Syria
Islamic State in Iraq
Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (Daesh)
Kurdistan National Council
Kurdish Regional Government
Local Coordination Committees
National Coordination Body for Democratic Change
Popular Front for the Liberatio (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Evacuation. It sounds like a humanitarian operation. The word conceals its brutality. Haunting drone footage shows a seemingly endless convoy of ambulances and green busses snaking their way through a destroyed and desolate wasteland. Those who leave their homes, the city of their childhoods, may never return. This is the Syrian Nakba. It’s a trauma both individual and collective. And its impact will be felt by generations to come.
Shocked and shaken, men, women and children emerge from green busses. The injured and the elderly. They tell stories of horror, of humans left behind, trapped under the rubble, with no one to help them. They are thin and gaunt, and reports emerge of rebel groups hoarding food, criminally withholding it fro... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) As eastern Aleppo falls, pounded by regime and Russian airstrikes, and stormed by Iranian sponsored militia on the ground, one young woman risks everything to communicate to the outside world the horror of the last days in the liberated part of the city.
Lina Shamy is in her twenties. She is one of many courageous activists using social media to describe the terror wrought on civilians trapped in the besieged, rebel held area with no safe place to flee. They are caught in the most tragic of circumstances, surrounded by death and destruction as barrel bombs, chlorine and phosphorous rain from the skies. As known activists, they cannot flee to regime held areas, where east Aleppo civilians have been shot, arrested or sent to the front lines ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Over the past few days a popular uprising has broken out across Idlib against the hardline Islamist group HTS (formerly Al-Qaeda linked Nusra) which is militarily dominant in much of the province.
The recent uprising began when HTS increased Zakaat (taxes) on a number of goods and services including bread, electricity and olive oil.
In Kafar Takharim, a town in north-western Idlib, which is dependent on olive oil production for income, locals refused to pay increased taxes and attempts by HTS to control the olive oil presses.
The local council in Kafar Takharim has long resisted attempts at take over by the HTS linked Salvation Government. Locals staged protests and stormed HTS controlled olive presses and police stations, successfully e... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The following is the English version of an interview with Leila Al Shami originally published in Apatris (a Greek anarchist newspaper). It gives a general overview of the Syrian revolution, including questions of military intervention, the situation in Kurdish areas, anarchist currents within the popular struggle and suggestions for solidarity
What was the social, economic and political situation in Syria before the uprising?
The Baath party came to power in 1963, following a military coup. At that time Baathism was a mixture of Pan-Arab, Arab nationalist and Arab socialist ideology. Hafez Al Assad came to power in 1970 through an internal coup and ruled for 40 years. He dismantled much of the socialist outlook of the party (the coup was ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Omar Aziz
“A revolution is an exceptional event that will alter the history of societies, while changing humanity itself. It is a rupture in time and space, where humans live between two periods: the period of power and the period of revolution. A revolution’s victory, however, is ultimately achieving the independence of its time in order to move into a new era.”
—Omar Aziz 
Omar Aziz was in his sixties when he returned to Syria in 2011. He’d been working for an information technology company in Saudi Arabia but now he wanted to participate in the uprising raging against the four-decade dictatorship of the Assad family. Together with other activists, Aziz began distributing humanitarian assistance to di... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Omar Aziz (fondly known by friends as Abu Kamel) was born in Damascus. He returned to Syria from exile in Saudi Arabia and the United States in the early days of the Syrian revolution. An intellectual, economist, anarchist, husband and father, at the age of 63, he committed himself to the revolutionary struggle. He worked together with local activists to collect humanitarian aid and distribute it to suburbs of Damascus that were under attack by the regime. Through his writing and activity he promoted local self-governance, horizontal organization, cooperation, solidarity and mutual aid as the means by which people could emancipate themselves from the tyranny of the state. Together with comrades, Aziz founded the first local committee in Bar... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Having expelled whole communities en masse from numerous Syrian cities and towns, a new law now allows the Assad regime to confiscate their properties, rendering their displacement permanent and radically transforming the country’s demography.
After seven years of repression and war, more than half the Syrian population no longer live in their own homes. Most are internally displaced, but nearly six million have fled the country altogether in search of asylum. They dream of one day returning to their homes, but a new law means that many may never be able to.
On the 2nd of April, Law No. 10 was issued by the Syrian regime. The law authorizes the formation of new local administrative units (governorates, cities, and towns) tasked with... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Over the past few days, an uprising has raged in Minnesota and elsewhere in the United States in response to the murder of George Floyd by police. In the spirit of solidarity with those on the streets, I was prompted to think about the lessons from the Syrian revolution that might be applicable to the US context.
People rise up when they can no longer breathe
In Syria, the first protest to take place was a direct response to police brutality. On 17 February, 2011, some 1,500 people gathered in the Damascene neighborhood of Hareeqa following an incident in which traffic police beat up the son of a local trader. Yet the wider context for the uprising was four decades of political repression and socioeconomic injustice under the Assad dict... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Once more the western ‘anti-war’ movement has awoken to mobilize around Syria. This is the third time since 2011. The first was when Obama contemplated striking the Syrian regime’s military capability (but didn’t) following chemical attacks on the Ghouta in 2013, considered a ‘red line’. The second time was when Donald Trump ordered a strike which hit an empty regime military base in response to chemical attacks on Khan Sheikhoun in 2017. And today, as the US, UK and France take limited military action (targeted strikes on regime military assets and chemical weapons facilities) following a chemical weapons attack in Douma which killed at least 34 people, including many children who were sheltering in base... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)