Following the recent vote in the British House of Commons to conduct unsanctioned airstrikes in Syria, members of the Thomas Ashe Society gathered at the Courthouse in Omagh, braving lashing rain and high winds, to protest what it described as ‘UK aggression against the Syrian people and the wider Arab world’.
Addressing those present, Sean Bresnahan, Secretary of the Society, spoke of the group’s opposition to ‘imperialist wars of aggression’, describing the bombing in Syria as ‘a war crime of industrial scale’ and appealing for the community in Omagh to ‘stand together and oppose what is a reactionary, if little understood, illegal war without justification or merit’.
He went on to criticise the decision of the Democratic Unionist Party and the Ulster Unionists to endorse the now ongoing military strikes, claiming they are ‘without UN mandate, have not been approved by the internationally recognised Syrian government and thus then represent an illegal and indeed criminal enterprise under the international law’.
Telling of a ‘campaign of terror by proxy against the people of Syria for nearly five years ongoing, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands and the displacement of over half the population’, he remarked the Cameron government was ‘now intent on adding to that suffering, despite having no legal mandate to intervene in Syria – a clear violation of international law and a ‘crime of aggression’ as defined by the United Nations’.
Continuing, he called on the British government and its allies to ‘respect Syria’s national sovereignty and desist immediately from their actions’, appealing in turn for ‘those who have sanctioned, coordinated or otherwise participated in the reign of terror waged against the Syrian people, whether by proxy or directly and including Britain, to be held accountable for their crimes and prosecuted at the International Criminal Court’.
In conclusion and on behalf of the Society membership, he extended ‘fraternal sympathies’ to the victims of the conflict in Syria, speaking of the group’s compulsion to oppose ‘a war of conquest, cloaked though it be in the language of humanitarian intervention, having experienced firsthand themselves the nature of imperialism and its callous disregard for human life’.