Syrian solidarity with 2 Turkish hunger strikers – RELEASE GULMAN & OZASHAH

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A SIT-IN was held in al-Umawyeen Square in Damascus on Thursday to express solidarity with the two detainees who are on hunger strike in the Turkish regime’s prisons.

The event, organised by the Turkish People’s Front and the Anti-Imperialism International Front in Syria, aimed at expressing solidarity with the Turkish activists Nuria Gulman and Samih Ozashah who have been on hunger strike in Turkish jails for 225 days.

The Turkish Front said in a statement that this sit-in, which comes one day before the trial of Nuria and Samih, is meant to show support to them and make their voice heard, as the issue does not concern them alone.

But it concerns 150,000 workers who were dismissed from their jobs, adding that it is the case of the whole Turkish people and other people striving for freedom, justice and dignity.

It added that the two activists represent the voice of justice as they also represent the voice of denunciation and rejection of the entry of Turkish forces into the Syrian territory in the city of Idlib recently.

For his part, Chairman of the Syrian Journalists Union Moussa Abdul-Nour said that such events expose the policy of Erdogan and what he is doing against liberties and anyone who disagrees with him, considering that the issue of Samih and Nuria is an example of this policy followed by the Turkish regime.

The Turkish regime has adopted a reprisal policy against the opposition and those who disagree with or criticise its actions and decisions.

This policy has reached the point of dismissing hundreds of thousands of Turkish gendarmes and officials from their jobs and closing newspapers that dared to criticise the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s policy, in addition to arresting journalists.

Meanwhile, President Bashar al-Assad received on Thursday a letter from the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran Ali Khamenei, handed by Iranian Chief of Staff Maj Gen Mohammad Bagheri. In the letter, Khamenei congratulated President al-Assad on the victories achieved against terrorism in Syria.

For his part, President al-Assad extended greetings and thanks to Khamenei, stressing that the people and the armed forces of Iran are a ‘main partner’ in these victories. The President’s talks with Bagheri and the delegation accompanying him touched upon the advanced stages of the brotherly relations between Syria and Iran in all fields, on top being the military cooperation, that has witnessed significant progress in the course of the war Syria is fighting against terrorism along with its allies, particularly Iran.

The success in eliminating terrorism in Syria ‘deals a severe blow to the Western projects plotted against the region,’ said President al-Assad, adding that this explains the persistent conduct of some countries in continuing support for the terrorist groups in Syria in particular and the whole region in general.

The Syrian president noted that the country’s ‘military partnership with Iran and other allies significantly evolved during the years of the conflict.’ Bagheri, in turn, said his visit to Syria aims at setting up a joint strategy on further coordination and cooperation on the military level in the next stage following the great achievements made in the fight against terrorism.

He reiterated Iran’s resolve to continue supporting the people and leadership of Syria until security and stability are restored to the country, in addition to providing all possible assistance to the process of reconstruction. The meeting was attended by Chief of the General Staff of the Syrian Army and the Armed Forces Lt Gen Ali Ayoub.

• Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has sharply denounced the US president’s hostile policies and insults against the Iranian nation, vowing that the country will speed up its conventional missile programme and regional role in response to enemy threats.

In a Thursday statement, the IRGC stressed the Guards’ resolve to defend the Iranian nation’s security and emphasised that it will not waver in its resolve to stand against the global ‘hegemonic system’ and ‘the vicious network of international Zionism’.

The elite Iranian force further stressed that the Islamic Republic’s regional influence and missile programme, which came to fruition under tough sanctions, will incessantly continue to expand.

The IRGC statement slammed the ‘rogue’ and ‘lightheaded’ president of the US, Donald Trump, for insulting the Iranian nation and paving the way for cruel sanctions against Iran’s Guards in his mid-October speech.

This proves ‘the failure of the diabolical policies of White House officials and the Zionist regime to change the regional map and disintegrate and undermine the Islamic countries as well as their fury over the IRGC’s role’ against such plots, the statement added.

Trump used his October 15 speech, where he refused to certify Iran’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear accord, to authorise the US Treasury Department to impose further sanctions on ‘the entire’ IRGC for what he claimed was ‘its support for terrorism’.

He stopped short of designating the IRGC as ‘a foreign terrorist organisation,’ however, as some reports had indicated he would do. Senior Iranian officials slammed Washington’s move against the IRGC, with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif saying Iranian people from all walks of life strongly support the defenders of the country and the region against terrorism.

‘Today, Iranians – boys, girls, men, women – are ALL IRGC,’ Zarif tweeted on the weekend. Prior to Trump’s speech, the chief commander of the elite force, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, had said Iran would treat US troops like Daesh terrorists if the IRGC was designated as a terrorist organisation by the US.

The IRGC is a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces, a standing army of a United Nations member state. It has been effectively providing advisory military support for the elected governments of Iraq and Syria in their battles against various groups of extremist militants.

Some of those militant groups are widely reported to be receiving logistical, financial, and other forms of support from the US government, particularly in Syria, where Washington has attempted but failed to have the Syrian government toppled.

• Some countries have been doing their utmost in their bid to preserve the chaos in the Middle East instead of controlling the situation in the region together, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting of the international discussion club Valdai on Thursday.

‘Instead of controlling the situation together and dealing a real blow on terrorism, and not imitating the struggle with it, some of our counterparts have been doing their utmost to make the chaos in the region permanent,’ Putin said about the situation in the Middle East. But there is an alternative to this policy, which Russia demonstrated in Syria, he added.