AT Mariupol, Mykolaiv and other cities in Ukraine subjected to heavy bombardment by the Russian army, the tragic precedent of the siege of Aleppo in 2016 is often invoked to describe the “nightmare”, even “hell” that civilian populations endure. The images of the cellist playing in the middle of the ruins of Kharkiv, in testimony of resistance against barbarism, thus recall those of the pianist improvising in 2015 in the devastated heart of Yarmouk, in the suburbs of Damascus.
In Ukraine today, as in Syria then, the destruction by Russia of civilian infrastructure, schools, shelters or hospitals, is part of a decision at the highest level, aimed at terrorizing the populations and not leave them no choice but between submission and exodus.
Flags and mercenaries
Opponents of Bashar Al-Assad now wave the Ukrainian flag alongside their own, where the three stars of Syrian independence challenge the two stars of the Baath party, in power in Damascus since 1963. This was particularly the case on March 15 , during demonstrations marking the anniversary of the initially peaceful uprising launched in 2011 against the Syrian dictatorship. An Idlib doctor then recommended Ukrainians to “fortify your hospitals with cement blocks, because the enemy Putin does not distinguish between civilians, wounded and combatants”.
The messages in the rallies in support of the Syrian revolution, at home and abroad, insist on active solidarity with the Ukrainian people, encouraged to ” Do not abandon “ neither his land nor his cause, for “from Syria to Ukraine, the enemy is the same”.
Assad, who had received the Russian Minister of Defense shortly before the invasion of Ukraine, naturally gave it unconditional support. He even mobilized his army and his political police to organize the recruitment of mercenaries dedicated to supporting the Russian forces in Ukraine.
As of March 11, Putin approved the mobilization of some 16,000 “volunteers” from the Middle East. This estimate corresponds to the applications accepted in Syria by the paramilitaries of the Wagner group and their local partners, the number of potential recruits being twice as high, so attractive has the prospect of a salary of two to three hundred dollars a month become. But the commitment can be explicitly ideological, as in the case of militia leader Nabel al-Abdallah, who pledged to “teaching Ukrainians a lesson”And this “as soon as my President Assad and my President Putin order me to”.
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