“Hands Off Syria” Applies to Russia Too—An International Statement

The following statement was authored by Gail Daneker of Friends for a NonViolent World, Brian Slocock of the Syria Solidarity Movement, UK, and the blogger and activist Clay Claiborne


“Hands Off Syria” Applies to Russia Too

As people and groups from many countries, united by a common commitment to peace, justice and human rights, we condemn the military offensive that began with air strikes launched by Russia in Syria on 30 September 2015 and accelerating subsequently.

While the Russian government has said that these operations were directed against the Islamic State (ISIS), most were on areas with no ISIS presence. The focus of the Russian military offensive appears to have been on opposition communities in the northern Homs region, a continuing center of resistance to the Assad Regime.

The victims of the Russian aggression on 30 September were predominantly civilians, including many children. Humanitarian conditions were dire in the area before Russia launched its offensive because it has long been under siege by the regime for its resistance.

The Assad Regime has wreaked havoc across Syria. The civil war it started by shooting democracy protesters has killed over a quarter-million Syrians, forced half the population from their homes and made millions of refugees. In the course of doing this, it has lost control of half the country. Although peace can never be restored by the regime that destroyed it, it would appear that Russia is now going to directly use its military might to further prop up a regime that would have collapsed years ago without foreign backing. This operation by Russian forces can only deepen the agony of the Syrian people, increase the flow of refugees, and strengthen the hand of extremist forces like ISIS.

Russian claims that its military escalation is legal are no more true than those used by the United States to justify its war against Vietnam. When the government that makes the invitation to invade is illegitimate, so is the invitation. The United States also bears responsibility for the catastrophe, as do all the regional and international stakeholders who have erased the aspirations and sacrifices of the Syrian people out of the narrative and replaced it with their own strategic needs and ambitions.

We condemn unequivocally both the brutal repressive actions of the Assad regime and these moves by Russia designed to prolong its life. If Russia wants a negotiated political transition in Syria, it has to stop assisting the regime’s brutality and wanton attacks on civilian targets, and stop encouraging the Assad regime’s persistent refusal to engage with any serious peace process.

Attacks on civilian populations are in violation of international law. We call on the international community, national governments, and the United Nations – to ensure the enforcement of UNSC Resolution 2139, to which Russia is a party, which provides that “All parties immediately cease all attacks against civilians, as well as the indiscriminate employment of weapons in populated areas”. We call on all those who are concerned with international peace and the defense of human rights to join us in speaking out against Russia’s callous actions by all means at your disposal – lobbying of your representatives, public demonstrations, public petitions and other forms of protest.


Bill Fletcher, Jr. (Writer/Activist, Former President, TransAfrica Forum)

Yassin al Haj Saleh (Syrian Writer Living in Exile, Istanbul)

Gail Daneker (Friends for a NonViolent World, Minnesota, USA)

Clay Claiborne (Linux Beach Productions, Venice, California, USA)

Terry Burke (Minnesota Committee in Solidarity with the People of Syria, USA)

Brian Slocock (Senior Lecturer in Political Science, University of Paisley, Retired, UK)

Mohja Kahf (Professor of Comparative Literature & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Arkansas & Member of the Syrian Nonviolence Movement)

Afra Jalabi (Syrian Writer & Vice-Chair, The Day After Association)

Andrei Codrescu (Poet, Professor Emeritus, Louisiana State University, USA)

Stephen R. Shalom (Editorial Board, New Politics, USA)

James Sadri (The Syria Campaign, UK)

Jean-Pierre Filiu (Professor, Sciences Po, Paris School of International Affairs)

Juan Cole (Professor of History, University of Michigan & Blogger, Informed Comment, USA)

Robin Yassin-Kassab (Writer, Scotland)

Leila Al Shami (Activist and Writer, Jordan)

Rafif Jouejati (Director of FREE-Syria, the Foundation to Restore Equality and Education in Syria & English-language spokeswoman for the Local Coordination Committees in Syria, USA)

Vinay Lal (Professor of History, University of California, Los Angeles, USA)

Nicolas Hénin (Journalist, Author, ex-ISIS hostage)

Leila Vignal (Fellow, Refugee Studies Centre, Department of International Development, Oxford University, UK)

Paul Woodward (War in Context, USA)

Ella Wind (New York University and MENA Solidarity Network, New York)

Roxanne Abbas (Activist, Minnesota, USA)

Ian Keith (Public School Teacher, Minnesota, USA)

Thomas Pierret (Lecturer, University of Edinburgh, Scotland)

Nader Hashemi (Director, Center for Middle East Studies, University of Denver, USA)

Andrew Berman (Veterans for Peace, USA)

Mujeeb R. Khan (Department of Political Science, University of California Berkeley)

Şener Aktürk (Department of International Relations, Koç University, Turkey)

Omar Qureshi (Teacher, New York)

Michael Karadjis (Teacher, Sydney, Australia)

Fazal Khan (Associate Professor, University of Georgia School of Law, USA)

Abdulaziz Almashi (Syria Solidarity Movement, UK)

Kareen El Beyrouty (Economist and Member, Syria Solidarity Movement, UK)

Mark Boothroyd (Syria Solidarity Movement, UK)

Graham Campbell (RISE Glasgow East and Glasgow TUC Unite/ Scottish Trades Union Congress Delegate, UK)

Clara Connolly (Immigration and Human Rights Lawyer, UK)

Soumya Datta (Assistant Professor, South Asian University, New Delhi, India)

Mike Gapes (Labour and Co-operative Member of Parliament for Ilford South, UK)

Bronwen Griffiths (Activist, UK)

Adina Mutar (Journalist, Romania)

David L. Williams (Peregrine Forum of Wisconsin, USA)

Hussam Ayloush (National Chair, Syrian American Council)

Ed Potts (Socialist, UK)

Rupert Read (Reader in Philosophy, University of East Anglia; Chair of Green House Think Tank, UK)

Peter Tatchell (Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation)

Nina van Krimpen (Human Rights Activist, The Netherlands)

Alfonso Vázquez (Human Rights Activist, Spain)

Pete Klosterman (Retired Software Engineer, New York, USA)

Therese Rickman Bull (Human Rights Activist, USA)

David Turpin Jr. (Antiwar Committee in Solidarity with the Struggle for Self Determination, Northwest Indiana, USA)

Rana Issa (University of Oslo, Norway)

Kelly Grotke (Fellow, Society for the Humanities, Cornell University, USA)

Stephen Hastings-King (Author, Ithaca, New York, USA)

Muhammad Idrees Ahmad (University of Stirling, Scotland)

Danny Postel (Center for Middle East Studies, University of Denver, USA)

Mazen Halabi (Activist, Minnesota, USA)

Barry Rubin (Independent Scientist, UK)

Laila Alodaat (Lawyer, UK)

Ziad Majed (Assistant Professor of International and Comparative Politics, The American University of Paris, France)

Subhi Hadidi (Writer, Syria/France)

Farouk Mardam Bey (Publisher, Paris, France)

Rt. Hon Sir Gerald Kaufman, MP (Longest Serving MP in the House of Commons, UK)

Wael Khouli (Physician Executive, Member of Syrian American Medical Society, USA)

Mary Lynn Murphy (Grandmothers for Peace Delegate to the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers, USA)

Rihab Naheel (Committee in Solidarity with the People of Syria, Minnesota, USA)

Susan Ahmad (Syrian Human Rights Activist and Journalist, UK)

Faisal Alazem (Director, Syrian Canadian Council)

Haytham Alhamwi (Managing Director, Rethink Rebuild Society, Manchester Syrian Community, UK)

Adnan Almahameed (Syrian Citizen, Community Organizer, Canada)

Pierluigi Blasioli (Student, University of Pescara, Italy)

James Bloodworth (Journalist, Editor of Left Foot Forward, UK)

Luke Cooper (Lecturer in Politics, Anglia Ruskin University, UK)

Samantha Falciatori (Humanitarian Volunteer and Solidarity Activist, Italy)

Terry Glavin (Author/Journalist/Columnist, Canada)

Juliette Harkin (Doctoral Student, University of East Anglia, UK)

Nancy Lindisfarne (Anthropologist, Author, UK)

Grant Padgham (Solidarity Activist, UK)

Mary Rizzo (Syria Solidarity Activist, Blogger at wewritewhatwelike.com, Italy)

Harry Shotton (Student and Campaigner, UK)

Kellie Strom (Artist and Children’s Author, UK)

Jonathan Neale (Writer, UK)

Planet Syria (Organization, UK)

Bill Scheurer (Executive Director, On Earth Peace, New Windsor, Maryland, USA)

Kenan Rahmani (Syrian American Activist, Washington DC)

Harald Etzbach (Translator/Journalist, Germany)

Ken Hiebert (Activist, Ladysmtih, BC, Canada)

Andrew Pollack (MENA Solidarity Network-US, Brooklyn)

Richard Dawson (Concerned Citizen, Los Angeles, California)

Robin ‘Roblimo’ Miler (IT/Science Reporter and Editor, USA)

Louis Proyect (Writer, CounterPunch film co-editor, New York City)

John Wilborn (Veterans for Peace, Chapter 168, Louisville, Kentucky, USA)

Fouad Roueiha (Journalist and co-founder of Solidarity with Syrian People Committee, Rome, Italy)

Gerard Di Trolio (Editor, rankandfile.ca, Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Thomas F Barton (Military Resistance Newsletter)

Ricardo Salabert (Political Activist, Portugal)

Manuel Barrera (Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA)

Jason Schulman (Editorial Board, New Politics, USA)

Edna Bonhomme (Doctoral Candidate, Princeton University, Brooklyn, New York, USA)

Associazione Rose di Damasco (Como, Italy)

Riccardo Bella (Activist for Syria and Palestine, Milano, Italy)

Veronica Bellintani (Student, Activist and Volunteer with Syrian Refugees, Italy)

Peter Clifford (Middle East Blogger, UK)

Sune Haugbølle (Department of Society and Globalisation, Roskilde University, Denmark)

Karama Napoli (Committee to Support the Arab People, Italy)

Fiore Haneen Sarti (Human Rights Activist, Italy)

Abdulrazzak Tammo (Leadership Consultant, Kurdish Future Movement, Syria/UK)

Ahmad Sadiddin (Research Fellow in Development Economics, University of Florence, Italy)

Jane Kelly (Activist, UK)

Jamie Milne (Labour Friends of Ukraine, UK)

Lara Bartocci (Freethinker and Graphic Designer, Italy)

Steven Heydemann (Professor of Middle East Studies, Smith College, USA)

Enrico De Angelis (Media Analyst, Free Press Unlimited, Italy)

Comitato Permanente per la Rivoluzione Siriana, Italy

Luke Staunton (Syria Solidarity Movement, UK)

Joshka Wessels (Postdoctoral Researcher on Syria, Centre for Resolution of International Conflicts, University of Copenhagen, Denmark)

Carol Coren (Social Enterprise Entrepreneur, Oregon and Pennsylvania, USA)

Anthony Saidy (Author, Los Angeles, USA)

Ralph Apel (Engineer, Frankfurt am Main, Germany)

Linda Parsons (Supporter of the Syrian People’s Revolution, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA)

Saskia Sassen (Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University, USA)

Ali Rahabi (Syrian Activist, Local Coordination Committees in Syria, Deir ez-Zor, Syria)

Zaher Sahloul (Physician, President of the Syrian American Medical Society, USA)

Mohamad Khouli (Activist, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA)

Jennifer Kaiser (Researcher, Turkey)

Polly Kellogg (Retired Associate Professor, St. Cloud State University, Minnesota, USA)

Basel Watfa (Pharmacist & Translator, Syrian refugee camp, Kusel, Germany)

Luna Watfa (Freelance Journalist/Photographer, Syrian refugee camp, Kusel, Germany)

Seyla Benhabib (Professor of Political Science and Philosophy, Yale University, USA)

Annalisa Roveroni (CIVIC Cooperativa Sociale, Italy)

Enzio Zuffo (Istituto Sviluppo Olistico, Italy)

Fred Mecklenburg (News & Letters, Chicago, USA)

Ron Aminzade (Professor of Sociology, University of Minnesota, USA)

MJ Maynes (Department of History, University of Minnesota, USA)

Qusai Zakarya (Syrian Activist)

Meredith Tax (Writer & Chair of the Centre for Secular Space, New York, USA)

Deidre A. Kellogg Ketroser (Human Rights Activist, Refugee Advocate/Advisor, Minneapolis, USA)

Lilia Marsali (Blogger and Activist, Member of the Algerian Congress for Democratic Change, France)

The Syrian Community of the South West UK

Stephen Zunes (Professor of Politics & Coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies, University of San Francisco, USA)

Bassam Al-Kuwatli (Syrian Civil Society and Political Activist, Gaziantep, Turkey)

Marese Hegarty (Solidarity Activist, Ireland)

14 thoughts on ““Hands Off Syria” Applies to Russia Too—An International Statement”

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