Bashar Al-Assad: four key issues

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Source: AFP/East News

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Source: AFP/East News

Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad spoke about major issues surrounding the ongoing crisis in Syria in an interview to the Russian media, published by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

On opposition         

All factions, both the government and illegal armed units who have fought against the government, should unite to struggle against terrorism. And we see that happening. Certain groups which were previously opposed to the Syrian government are now on our side, combating against terrorists.

On Iran

That country supports the Syrian government politically, economically and militarily. The ‘military support’ here does not imply what some Western media are trying to present as the deployment of Iranian forces in Syria. This is not true. Tehran is supplying us with military equipment. Granted, an exchange of military experts between Syrian and Iran does take place, but we have consistently carried out such exchanges in the past. It is natural that bilateral cooperation of this kind intensifies during wartime. And, yes, the assistance coming from Iran is the key factor contributing to the resilience of Syria during this barbaric conflict.

On jihadists

As we all know, arms, money and volunteers are supplied to the al-Nusra Front and ISIS by Turkey, which keeps close relations with the West. Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Turkish president) or Ahmet Davutoglu (Turkey’s PM) can’t take a single step without the consent of the United States and other Western countries. Both the al-Nusra Front and ISIS owe their rise in the region to the support from the West. The West sees terrorism as a trump card up its sleeve that it can exploit from time to time. Currently, the West wants to use the al-Nusra Front against ISIS, probably because ISIS went out of control in a way. But this does not mean they want to destroy ISIS. If they really wanted it, they would have done it.

On the roots of the crisis

The roots of the crisis lie in the war that led to the sectarian division of Iraq, which had had a partial impact on the situation in Syria, and had made it simpler to foment inter-confessional conflicts within the country. The second, less important, turning point was the official support the West provided in the early 1980’s to Afghani terrorists, restyled as “freedom fighters.” Later, when ISIS emerged in 2006, thanks to the efforts of the USA, Washington did nothing to fight this group. All these factors combined served to create the conditions for the unrest, which was supported by the West and financed by the Gulf States, particularly Qatar and Saudi Arabia, with logistical assistance provided by Turkey.  

Interview unabridged (in Russian).

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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