The question arises because some efforts to challenge US/Fr/UK interventionism in Syria – the apparent desire to depose Assad, (as Sadam Hussein was in Iraq) – is challenged by critiquing media that characterise Assad as a monster. But this may be received as if Assad is a benign democratic authority. I would argue that challenging imperialist intervention in Syria can take place alongside awareness that there is resistance within Syria’s own population, from socialist and non Jihadi forces or efforts, to an oppressive Assad State machine.
And, that it is reasonable to try to support their resistance against oppression by the Assad state machine without meaning you support either imperialist intervention or the efforts of Jihadi extremists (some of whom may be Syrian in origin).
See interview with Yassin Al-Haj Saleh, a Syrian communist imprisoned by Assad’s state for 16?yrs: In Syria, The Left and The World. See here. A source from a refugee now outside Syria – true – but a voice that has, it would seem, experienced Assad’s oppression first hand.
Though supporting socialist efforts like this may mean identifying the oppressive nature of Assad’s state machine. Which, in turn, may lend succour to imperialist propaganda.
It seems wrong to silence criticism of Assad on the grounds that this support imperialist efforts. To do this would be to be complicit with his oppression of political resistance within Syria.
After all it is also possible that Russia’s support of Assad’s apparently legitimate authority in Syria is a kind of neo-colonialism in the name of humanitarian protection of ‘a minority’ (in this case Syria itself). Which would be a kind of reversal of the excuse behind Imperialist colonisation and its apparent humanitarian interventions.
However it is possible that some remain silent on Assad’s oppression as a tactic aimed at resisting US/Fr/U.K. intervention – but this tactic may misfire as it also tends to support pro Assad voices and pro Putin voices.