In the streets and in the classroom, Syrians demonstrate, thankful for Russian support; Russian base means security for Latakia

0, November 5, 2015

Translated from Russian by Tom Winter, November 13, 2015

Thanks to the support of Russian aviation the Syrian army is freeing all new areas from terrorists; civilian populations are returning. Today the citizens of Latakia have come out on the streets with flags of our country — in this way they return thanks to Moscow for the help.

People who came to the demonstration shouted slogans in support of the anti-terrorist operation that Syrian government forces and the Russian military are conducting. During a similar rally in Damascus three weeks ago, militants fired mortars, but here the thought it it isn’t stopping anyone.

TV Center reports that the action drew about a thousand people, many of them sporting Russian flags.

For the first time in the recent years, people in Syria have hope for peace. This is especially felt in Latakia. Once the Russian military base appeared outside the city, local residents began to feel more confident. And now no one expects fighters there.

Now the city is relatively calm, as the fighting with the terrorists are just on the outskirts of the province. Recently, the population of Latakia has increased several times, as people run here from the eastern regions of the country, that are under guerrilla control. Locals say that before the war 500 thousand people lived in the city. Now, nearly two million. The Russian planes are a sign of peace to the people of Latakia and to the refugees a sign of peace in the city, which the Islamists won’t approach.

“We’re quite happy that your planes are helping us. It’s very peaceful here now. Life was a hardship, but now we live in relative quiet. So we’re very happy about the Russians.  We welcome the Russian people. The whole Russian people, particularly President Putin. You see they’re all carrying pictures of Putin and our president Bashar. Everyone loves, are all grateful to the Russian people,” said Ibrahim Isper, one of the demonstrators.

You can often hear Russian spoken here – even in Soviet times, many Syrians studied in our universities, and then returned home. Young people, for the most part, do not know Russian, but are now beginning to study it. In Latakia special courses have been organized that 1200 people are attending.

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“My students that are now studying the Russian language – they are engineers, doctors, generals, officers, people of very different specialties – they just like it, and are managing in the Russian language. Language is friendship. The language of the world. The language of loyalty,” said Yasser Jazeera, director of the Arab Cultural Center in Latakia.

At the entrance to the Arab Cultural Center the children of the youth wing of the party “Baath” greet them all. The demonstration continues indoors. This is one of the largest rooms in the city, but there are no empty seats. In the forefront – the urban elite: the governor, ministers, businessmen and clergy. On the walls there are posters placarding Russian-Syrian friendship, some with errors, but from the heart.

Here they are aware that on the eve in Russia they celebrated the Day of National Unity, which is so lacking in Syria. “I believe that in our beloved country there will also be a celebration and all the lost return to the Motherland. Soon the day will come when we will overcome all the armed bandits and Russian friends will help us,” said the governor of Latakia Ibrahim Khidr Assal.

The audience responds to the speakers with applause and they read poems of their own composition. People believe that Russia will continue to help Damascus. 

In addition, for the first time in the years of the war, Russian diplomats managed to find a common language with the opposition representatives, who have agreed to cooperate in the fight against terrorists. There are delighted since, after all, the militants can be defeated only by uniting.

“We are one with you in the trenches to counter the terrorism, which has filled the earth with the blood of innocent people. I hope that the world will be united and we will win,” said the chief mufti of Latakia Ghazal Ghazal. In memory of the fallen soldiers, the people in the hall stood for a moment of silence, and then came alive again to the sounds of the anthem of Syria. As the custom is, they stand, singing the words. Next they concluded with the Russian national anthem, to say thank you to the country that extends the helping hand.

Peter Vershinin. Konstantin Stepanov-Molodov, “TV Center”, Lattakia, Syria

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