President Assad: US Only Way to Defeat Terrorism in Syria is through Cooperation with Syrian Government

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

February 10, 2017

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gave interview to Yahoo News in which he stressed that the US needs to be genuine regarding the fight against terrorism if it wants to really defeat terrorism in Syria, adding that this aim requires a clear political position on the part of the US towards the sovereignty and unity of Syria and cooperation with its government and people.

The following is the full text of the interview:

Question 1: Mr. President, thanks for giving us the opportunity. This is your first interview with American media since President Trump has taken office. Have you had any communications with President Trump directly or indirectly, or anybody in his administration?

President Assad:  No, not yet.

Question 2: This is an opportunity for you to convey a message to President Trump, if you have one. What would you like to say to him?

President Assad:  wouldn’t convey the message through the media, I would send it through a different channel, maybe diplomatic channels. But any message for us is the public one, we don’t have two messages; we have one stand, one position toward what’s happening in Syria, and it’s about fighting terrorism.

Question 3: You said yesterday, I believe, that what you have heard from the new administration is promising. Explain what you meant.

President Assad: The position of President Trump since he started his campaign for presidency till this moment is that the priority is to fight terrorism, and we agree about this priority, that’s our position in Syria, the priority is to fight terrorism, and that’s what I meant by promising.

Question 4: You indicated that you thought there was some way for cooperation between the United States and Syria, but you didn’t explain what that would be. What sort of cooperation can you envision?

 President Assad:  Against terrorists, and against terrorism. That’s self-evident for us. This is beside having cooperation between any two nations, but in the meantime, in these circumstances, the priority is to have cooperation in fighting terrorism between the different nations, including Russia, Iran and Syria, of course.

Question 5: The President has tasked his Secretary of Defense with developing plans for defeating ISIS or Daesh. Among the proposals they are reportedly considering is using more special forces and even military assets such as Apache helicopters inside Syria, and arming Kurdish fighters who are fighting Daesh in the north. If such moves would defeat ISIS, would you welcome them?

President Assad:  Could the American prowess defeat the terrorists in Afghanistan or in other places? No, you cannot… it’s not enough to have this Apache or F-16 or F-35, whatever you want to label it, to defeat terrorists. There has to be a more comprehensive way of dealing with that complicated issue. So, if you want to start genuinely, as United States, to do so, it must be through the Syrian government. We are here, we are the Syrians, we own this country as Syrians, nobody else, nobody would understand it like us. So, you cannot defeat the terrorism without cooperation with the people and the government of any country.

Question 6: But you have welcomed Russian troops into your country. Would you welcome American troops into your country?

President Assad:  We invited the Russians, and the Russians were genuine regarding this issue. If the Americans are genuine, of course they are welcome, like any other country that wants to defeat and to fight with the terrorists. Of course, with no hesitation we can say that.

Question 7: So, you want American troops to come into Syria to help fight ISIS?

President Assad: Troops is part of the cooperation. Again, let’s go back to the comprehensive, you cannot talk about sending troops if you’re not genuine, if you don’t have a clear political position toward not only the terrorism; toward the sovereignty of Syria, toward the unity of Syria. All these factors would lead to trust, where you can send your troops. That’s what happened with the Russians; they didn’t only send their troops. First of all, there’s a clear political position regarding those factors. This is where the Russians could come and succeed in fighting the terrorists in Syria.

Question 8: Do you see cooperation between the United States and Russia to attack ISIS in Syria?

President Assad:  It is essential. Any cooperation in any conflict around the world, it needs the, let’s say, the rapprochement, between the Russians and the Americans. It’s very essential, not only for Syria.

Question 9: Well, you talk to the Russians all the time, don’t you?

President Assad:  Of course.

Question 10: Yeah? When’s the last time you spoke to President Putin.

President Assad:  A few weeks ago.

Question 11: What’d you talk about?

President Assad:  About the problem in Syria, about the advancement of the Syrian Army in Syria.

Question 12: Right. Are you going to try to broker some sort of arrangement between the United States and Russia in this fight?

President Assad: There’s direct contact between them, and President Putin had a telephone call with President Trump a week or so, and they talked about different issues including Syria, so they don’t need my role to do so, and we don’t have any contact with the Americans to help the Russians make contact or improve their relation. We’re not in that position.

Question 13: President Trump recently said he absolutely wants to create “safe zones” inside Syria to protect refugees, and possibly allow many of them to return. If such a move would help protect your country’s endangered citizens, would you support that?

President Assad:  But actually, it won’t. It won’t. Safe zones for the Syrians could only happen when you have stability and security, where you don’t have terrorists, where you don’t have flow and support of those terrorists by the neighboring countries or by Western countries. This is where you can have a natural safe zone, which is our country. They don’t need safe zones at all. It’s much more viable, much more practical and less costly to have stability than to create safe zones. It’s not a realistic idea at all.

Question 14: Upwards of half of your country’s population has been displaced. How can you say that safe zones to protect them from bombardment would not be helpful?

President Assad:  The first thing you have to ask: why were they displaced? If you don’t answer that question, you cannot answer the rest. They were displaced for two reasons: first of all, the terrorist acts and the support from the outside. Second, the embargo on Syria. Many people didn’t only leave Syria because of the security issues. As you see, Damascus is safe today, it’s nearly normal life, not completely. But they don’t find a way for life in Syria, so they have to travel abroad in order to find their living. So, if you lift the embargo, and if you stop supporting the terrorists – I’m not talking about the United States, I’m talking about everyone who supported terrorists including the United States during Obama’s administration – if you stop all these acts, most of those people will go back to their country.

Question 15: There are, what, 4.8 million Syrian refugees since this crisis began. Just as way of comparison, that is more than 4 times the total number of Palestinian refugees from the events of 1947 and 48. Do you accept that this is a humanitarian disaster?

President Assad:  It is a humanitarian disaster created by the Western support of those terrorists, of course, and the regional support by Turkey and Qatar and Saudi Arabia. It didn’t happen just like this.

Question 16: And you bear any responsibility at all for this disaster?

President Assad: As president?

Journalist: Yes.

President Assad:  Regarding the policies that I undertake since the beginning of the crisis, they were supporting the dialogue between the Syrians, fighting terrorists, and supporting reconciliation, and they succeeded. So, no, regarding these policies, I think we were correct, and we are continuing on these pillars for the future of Syria regarding this crisis.

Question 17: As you know, President Trump has signed a very controversial executive order barring refugees, immigrants, from predominantly Muslim countries, but specifically all Syrian refugees, saying that their entry into the country would be detrimental to the interests of the United States. The premise is that some of them are terrorists.

President Assad:  Yeah.

Journalist: Do you agree with President Trump on this?

President Assad:  This question has two aspects: the first one is American, this is an American issue and it’s related to the sovereignty of the American nation. Every country has the right to put any regulations to enter their country. We can disagree or agree, but if you ask me as president, as official in the Syrian state, my responsibility is not to go and ask any president to allow the Syrians to go there and to have refuge in that country. My responsibility is to restore the stability, in order to bring them back to Syria and find refuge in their country. So, I’m not going to discuss that this is right or wrong; this is American issue.

Question 18: But the question was: are some of these refugees, in your view, aligned with terrorists?

President Assad:  Oh, definitely.

Journalist: Definitely?

President Assad:  Definitely. You can find it on the net; the same picture that you saw them – in some cases, of course – in some instances, those terrorists in Syria, holding the machinegun or killing people, they are peaceful refugees in Europe or in the West in general. Yeah, that’s true.

Question 19: So, how many terrorists do you believe are among the 4.8 million Syrian refugees?

President Assad: No one has any number, nobody knows, because nobody knows all the terrorists to give a percentage, no one at all.

Question 20: Do you believe it’s a significant number?

President Assad:  It’s not about significant, because you don’t need a significant number to commit atrocities. 11th of September, it happened by only 15 terrorists out of maybe millions of immigrants in the United States, so it’s not about the number; it’s about the quality, it’s about the intentions.

Question 21: So, if what you’re saying is correct, then President Trump would be justified in keeping them out of the United States?

President Assad:  I’m not American to justify it; only American people would say this is against the interests of the United States or with the interests. From the outside, we can discuss it as value; this is with the values of the humanitarian situation in the world or not, that’s how we can discuss it. But again, I can only speak as president; for me the priority is to bring those citizens to their country, not to help them immigrate. That’s the natural duty according to the constitution and to the law.

Question 22: Would you welcome all of Syria’s refugees back into your country?

President Assad: Definitely, definitely.

Journalist: Definitely? Even the terrorists?

President Assad: I don’t have to welcome them as president; I don’t own the country, it’s not my house, it’s not my company, it’s not my farm. This is country to every Syrian.

Question 23: But if you believe that some of them are terrorists, what would you do with them when they return to Syria?

President Assad:  It doesn’t matter what I believe, what matters is what the law would say about every person who committed any act against his country, taking into consideration that we gave amnesty in Syria to thousands of people who committed actions or acts against their country as part of the reconciliation.

Question 24: How do you expect them to return? What is your vision or plan for bringing Syria’s refugees back into Syria?

President Assad: Already many of them, not a huge number, but many of them came back to Syria, many of them, in spite of the security issues and the embargo. So, the majority of Syrians would like to come back to their country. This is natural for every citizen. They will come back when there’s security and when there’s no embargo.

Question 25: Your military, just last month, drove the rebels from eastern Aleppo. Do you see this as a turning point in Syria’s civil war, and do you believe you’ve now won this war?

President Assad: No, it’s not a turning point. The turning point was when we took the decision to fight terrorism in spite all the propaganda against us abroad, especially in the West, and against every pressure. That was the turning point. Aleppo is an important step against terrorists, in the fight against terrorism, but I cannot say it is a turning point, because we’re still going in the same way, in the same direction, we haven’t changed our direction. Maybe for the terrorists it’s a turning point? They better answer. Maybe for their masters in the West and in the region, it could be, but they have to answer, I cannot answer on their behalf.

Question 26: I was asking you before about potential cooperation between the United States and Syria, but the problem that many would have with that is the continued allegations of human rights abuses by your government. Now, just today, we have a new report from Amnesty International about Sednaya prison, “human slaughterhouse” they call it, 5,000 to 13,000 detainees hanged in mass hangings there, horrific conditions, trials of blindfolded prisoners, one to three minutes in length, no lawyers, secret, all in secret. This would, on its face, be contrary to every aspect of international law. What do you know about what’s going on in that prison?

President Assad:  Let’s first of all talk about the first part of your question, which is the problem how to – for the United States – to open relations with Syria, regarding the human rights. I will ask you: how could you have this close, very close relation, intimate relation, with Saudi Arabia? Do you consider beheading as human right criteria?

Journalist: But I’m not interviewing the King of Saudi Arabia right, I’m interviewing you.

President Assad: Yeah, I know. Yeah, of course.

Journalist: I’m asking you about reports of human rights abuses in your prison, in your country.

President Assad: You own the question, I own the answers, so that’s my answer. So, when you answer about Saudi Arabia and your relation, you can put yourself in that position. Second, the United States is in no position to talk about human rights; since Vietnam war till this moment, they killed millions of civilians, if you don’t want to talk about 1.5 million in Iraq, without any assignment by the Security Council. So, the United States is in no position to say “I don’t open relations because of human rights,” and they have to use one standard. This is first.

The second part now. Now I can move to the other part, that report, like many other reports published by Amnesty International, put into question the credibility of Amnesty International, and we never look at it as unbiased. It’s always biased and politicized, and it’s a shame for such an organization to publish a report without a shred of evidence. They said it’s based on interviews, on interviews.

Journalist: Yes.

President Assad: What about the documents? What about the concrete evidence? Not a single concrete…

Journalist: Interviews with four former prison officials and guards, three former Syrian judges, three doctors…

President Assad: It means nothing.

Journalist: It means nothing?

President Assad:  It’s interview… no, no, when you need to make a report, you need co st year. They paid money for such a report, and they brought their own witnesses, and they ncrete evidence. You can make any report, you can pay money to anyone like Qatar did la made a report.

Question 27: I wanna just read you something from the report… “the process of hanging is authorized by officials at the highest levels of the government. Death sentences are approved by the Grand Mufti of Syria, and by either the Minister of Defense or the Chief of Staff of the Army, who are deputized to act on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad.”

President Assad: First of all, what’s the evidence? This is first. Second…

Journalist: Is it true or not?

President Assad: No, no, it’s not true, definitely not true.

Journalist: How do you know? Do you know what goes on in that prison? Have you been there?

President Assad: No, I haven’t been, I’ve been in the Presidential Palace, not in the prison.

Journalist: So here you have a very disturbing report about something going on in one of your prisons, are you going to investigate?

President Assad: So, Amnesty International knows more about Syria than me, according to you. No, that’s not true. No, they haven’t been to Syria, they only base their reports on allegation, they can bring anyone, doesn’t matter what’s his title, you can forge anything these days, and we’re living in a fake news era, as you know, everybody knows this. So, we don’t have to depend on this. Second, you have to talk about the reality, they said in their report that we made serial executions, is that correct?

Journalist: Yes. Mass hangings.

President Assad:  First of all, execution is part of the Syrian law. If the Syrian government or institution wants to do it, they can make it legally, because it’s been there for decades.

Journalist: Secret trials, no lawyers?

President Assad: Why do they need it, if they can make it legally? They don’t need anything secret.

Journalist: Is that legal, in your country?

President Assad: Yeah, yeah, of course, it’s legal, for decades, since the independence. The execution, according to the law, after trial, is a legal action, like any other court in many countries in this region.

Question 28: Will you allow international monitors to visit that prison and inspect and investigate these reports?

President Assad:  It depends on the credibility of that organization, not anyone, because they’re going to use this visit just to demonize the Syrian government more and more and more, like what’s happening.

Question 29: This is not the first time that very serious human rights allegations have been made. Just last week, a woman in Spain, Syrian, filed a lawsuit accusing nine of your senior government intelligence and security officials of human rights abuses. Her brother had disappeared in one of your prisons. You asked about documents, the lawyers who have filed this, accusing your government of human rights abuses, have collected 3,000 pages of evidence and over 50,000 photographs taken by one of your former government’s photographers showing emaciated, tortured bodies in your prisons.

President Assad: Who verified the pictures? Who verified that they’re not edited and photoshopped and so on?

Journalist: Have you seen the photos?

President Assad: No, I didn’t.

Journalist: Have you seen the photos?

President Assad:  No, no, I saw some photos in previous reports. But it’s not about the photo. How can you verify the photo?

Journalist: You have said that the…

President Assad: Do you have a photo?

Journalist: I do have the photos.

President Assad: Can you show it to me?

Journalist: Yes, I’ll be happy to. here.

President Assad: This photo… have you verified who are those?

Journalist: I… can tell you…

President Assad: Because you have it, and because you mention it in front of your audience…

Journalist: There’s a number of photos…

President Assad:  You have to convince your audiences, you cannot mention such a picture without verifying who are those and where and everything about, just to put it in front of the audience, tell them “they’ve been killed by the Syrian soldiers.”

Journalist: The woman who filed the lawsuit, the Syrian woman who filed the lawsuit said she saw her brother in those photographs.

President Assad: At the end, these are allegations. We have to talk about concrete evidence, at the end. That’s how you can base your judgment. Anyone can say whatever he wants.

Question 30: The US State Department gave these photos to the American FBI crime lab, digital lab. They examined these photos, and said the bodies and scenes depicted – these are 242 of these images – the bodies and scenes depicted exhibit no artifacts or inconsistencies that would indicate they have manipulated. As a result of the above observations, all of these 242 images appear to depict real people and events.

President Assad: Who said that?

Journalist: The FBI. Have you seen their report?

President Assad: No. When was that?

Journalist: That was 2015.

President Assad: The question is when your institutions were honest about what’s happening in Syria? That’s the question. Never. For us, never, so we don’t have to rely on what they say, if the FBI say something, it’s not evidence for anyone, especially for us. The most important thing: if you take these photos to any court in your country, could they convict any criminal regarding this? Could they tell you what this crime is, who committed it? If you don’t have this full picture, you cannot make judgement, it’s just propaganda, it’s just fake news, they want to demonize the Syrian government. In every war, you can have any individual crime, it happened here, all over the world, anywhere, but it’s not a policy.

Question 31: But let me just… If I hear what you’re saying, the FBI is just forwarding… propagating propaganda, Amnesty International is propagating propaganda, everybody is conspiring against the Syrian government. Why?

President Assad: Ask them, we’re not…

Journalist: You’re the one making the allegation.

President Assad: No, no, I’m not making an allegation, they supported the terrorists, and you go back to what they said… John Kerry, a few months ago, said and by his voice that “we were watching ISIS advancing, and we expected the Syrian president to make concessions.” What does it mean? Obama said it in one of his speeches, that the war on Iraq created ISIS. So, who supported ISIS? We didn’t create it, you created it, the United States created all this mess. Who supported the rebels and called them “moderate rebels” while they became ISIS and al-Nusra in Syria? We didn’t. So, it’s not a conspiracy, these are facts, this is reality. We didn’t give money, we didn’t support these terrorists. Your country supported them, UK, France, publicly, and they said they sent armaments, we didn’t. So, it’s not my allegation, it’s your official allegation, including Joe Biden, the Vice President of Obama. He said, about Saudi Arabia and other countries supporting the extremists…

Journalist: That’s Saudi Arabia, but the United States…

President Assad: So, this allegation is their allegation, it’s American allegation before it’s been Syrian allegation.

Question 32: The United States and its coalition partners have been bombing ISIS in Iraq and Syria, it’s supporting the Iraqi army in its efforts to liberate Mosul from ISIS. How can you say that the United States is supporting ISIS?

President Assad: Can you explain to me how could they defeat ISIS in Iraq, and ISIS was expanding since the American coalition started attacking in Syria?

Journalist: Is it expanding now?

President Assad:  It’s been expanding, no, it’s…

Journalist: Is it expanding now?

President Assad:  It started shrinking after the Russian intervention, not the American one. How could they use our oil fields and export with thousands of barrel trucks to Turkey without being seen by your drones and by your satellites while the Russians could be able to do so and attack them and destroy them. destroy all their facilities? How? This is cosmetic campaign against ISIS.

Question 33: Just to be clear; I have shown you the FBI report, I have shown the photographs, I have shown you the Amnesty International report. Will you cooperate in investigations to determine if these very serious reports are in fact true?

 

President Assad:  You showed me many things, but you didn’t show me a single evidence.

Journalist: I showed you an FBI report.

President Assad: No, no, it’s not evidence at all. It’s actually the contrary; any American institution for us during the Syrian crisis was against the reality, it was the opposite of the truth. That’s how we look at it. So, it’s not a Syrian institution, we don’t care about what they say. For me, what I care about is what reports I have from Syrian people, and we had investigations, because we have many claims regarding not mass crimes, actually, more individual acts and we’ve been investigating many, and many people were punished, but that happened in every war.

Question 34: Do you… are you disturbed enough about any of this to try to determine the truth yourself?

President Assad:  I think you should show it to Western officials to ask them that question: are they disturbed to see what’s happening since they started supporting the terrorists in Syria? This killing and this destruction? That’s the question. Of course I’m disturbed; I am Syrian.

Journalist: You are disturbed about this? About these reports?

President Assad:  About what’s happening in Syria. No, no, not about the report. I don’t care about the report.

Journalist: Not about this.

President Assad: No, no, I’m disturbed about what’s happening in Syria. It’s my country, it’s being destroyed by proxy terrorists, of course.

Question 35: You have acknowledged that your troops in this war have committed mistakes in its prosecution against the rebels, and that anyone could be punished. So, how many mistakes are we talking about?

President Assad:  No, I didn’t say that. I never said that. I said there are always mistakes in any action; that’s a human…

Journalist: How many mistakes are we talking about? How many innocent civilians have been killed by your government’s mistakes?

President Assad:  Nobody knows, because thousands and thousands of those are missing people; nobody knows anything about their fate, nobody at all. So, you cannot tell till the end of this war.

Question 36: Was it a mistake to bomb hospitals in Aleppo?

President Assad: We never bombed hospitals in Aleppo. Why to bomb a hospital? Can you convince your audience that we have interest in bombing hospitals? Actually, this is against our interest. This is against our interest to bomb a hospital if it’s used as hospital, and the proof that it was a lie, every time they talk about bombing hospitals, every time they say this is the last hospital in eastern part of Aleppo, and the second time they talk about another hospital and they say the same; “they bombed the last hospital.” So, it’s lies and lies and lies. We can spend the whole interview talking about lies, and we can talk about the truth and reality. I have to talk about the reality.

Question 37: Is it a mistake to use barrel bombs and chlorine gas?

President Assad: You have to choose which part of the narrative is correct. Once they said we are using indiscriminate bombs and they called it barrel bombs. The other day, they said we targeted hospitals and schools and convoys. We either have precise armaments or we have indiscriminate armaments. So, which one do you choose?

Question 38: Well, you do acknowledge though that innocent civilians… there have been civilian casualties in this war?

President Assad: Of course, every war is a bad war, every war is a bad war. You cannot talk about good war. Let’s agree about this. Every war has causalities; every war has innocent people to pay the price. This is the bad thing about war. That’s why we need to end that war, but having casualties doesn’t mean not to defend our country against the terrorists and against the invasion from abroad through those proxies by foreign countries like the Western countries and the regional ones. This is self-evident.

Question 39: President Obama gave a speech in 2013 about US counter-terrorism efforts, including drone strikes, and he says while defending those strikes, nevertheless it is a hard fact that US strikes have resulted in civilian casualties from me and those in my chain of command, those deaths will haunt us as long as we live. Are you haunted by the deaths of innocent civilians caused by your government’s military actions?

President Assad: That’s an important example about the armament, it’s not about what bomb do you use, whether you call it barrel or any other name; it’s not about that. It’s about the way you use and your intentions. That’s why the state of the art drones with their missiles, the American ones, killed much more civilians than terrorists. So, it’s not about the drone, it’s not about the armaments; it’s about your intentions. In our case in Syria, of course we have to avoid the civilians, not only because they are our people and this is a moral issue; it’s actually because it’s going to play into the hands of the terrorists. If we kill the civilians intentionally, it means we are helping the terrorists. So, why would we do it, why we are defending the civilians and killing the civilians? It doesn’t work; this is contradiction. If we are killing the civilians, who are we defending in Syria? Against who and for who?

Question 40: You were asked just yesterday: are all means justified in this war, and you said, your answer was yes, it’s a duty. So, you can use every mean in order to defend the Syrian people.

President Assad: Exactly.

Journalist: Every mean?

President Assad: Every mean.

Journalist: Including torture?

President Assad: No, it’s not a defense; torture is not a defense. Why to use torture? What’s the relation between torture and defending your country?

Journalist: So, where you draw the line?

President Assad: You have rules, you have very clear rules like any army; when you want to defend your country, you use your armaments against the terrorists. This is the only rule that I’m talking about. This is all the means that you can use in order to defend your country militarily, if I’m talking about military. Of course, you have to defend it politically, economically, in every sense of the word. But if you talk militarily, torture is not part of defending your country.

Question 41: Last question: can you just give us your vision of a settlement of this conflict, and can it… under any circumstances, will you be willing to step aside if it can end this disaster of a war for the Syrian people?

President Assad: Definitely, for me, whenever the Syrian people don’t want me to be in that position, I will leave right away, this is a very simple answer for me and I don’t have to think about it, and I’m not worried about this. What I would worry about is if I’m in that position and I don’t have the public support; this is going to be a big problem for me and I can’t bear it, and I cannot produce anyway. Regarding the first part, how would I see the solution, two pillars: the first one is fighting terrorism; without fighting terrorism and defeating the terrorists, no other solution would be fruitful at all, at all, any kind of solution. In parallel, dialogue between the Syrians about the future of Syria, that will include anything, everything, regarding the whole political system, the whole Syria in every sense of the word, then when we can get elections, and you can have national unity government, then you can have parliamentarian elections, then if the Syrian people think about early presidential elections or any kind of presidential elections, that will be viable.

Journalist: So, earlier than the completion of your term, which I believe, is in 2021?

President Assad:  If there is public consensus about this.

Question 42: How would you determine whether there’s public consensus or not?

President Assad: We can discuss it at that time; it’s still early to talk about it. We haven’t finished any of the stages that I’m talking about. So, we never thought about how because we don’t know what circumstances are we going to face that time. But at the end, when you live in a country, you can sense; Syria is not a continent, it’s a small country, we can deal with each other, we can know each other as society. You can sense, you can feel if there is public consensus, and then if you want to do something documented, you can have referendum, that’s very clear.

Question 43: Do you have any cause for optimism?

President Assad: Of course, without that optimism we wouldn’t fight for six years. The only… the main optimism that we’ve had is that we’re going to defeat those terrorists and their masters, and we’re going to restore stability in Syria, and more important than my optimism is the determination of the Syrian people; this is very important source for optimism. Without that determination, you wouldn’t see Syria in these very difficult and exceptional circumstances still living the minimum life, let’s say, if not the normal life, but the minimum life, to survive, and for the government to offer different services and subsidies, and so on.

Journalist: Thank you Mr. President.

President Assad: Thank you very much.

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President Assad: Syria Victory Enhances Establishing More Balanced World

Local Editor

Assad-KharraziSyrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Saturday the victory of the Syrian people and their allies in the war against terrorism would contribute to establishing a more balanced and just world.

Such a world would stand up to the attempts of the imperialist West and its agents in the region at imposing its will that goes against the interests of the region’s peoples, who are committed to their sovereignty and self-determination right, added the President during a meeting with Kamal Kharrazi, Head of Strategic Council on Foreign Relations of Iranian Supreme Leader’s Administration.

The Iranian official affirmed that supporting Syria, whether it is on the level of fighting foreign-backed terrorism or in the political track, is a firmly established strategic policy for Iran.

This policy is firm inasmuch as the Iranian leadership realizes that the ultimate aim of the fierce attack on Syria is to undermine its pivotal role within the Resistance front, said Kharrazi.

President al-Assad, for his part, highlighted that the political and military support of Syria’s friendly countries, mainly Iran and Russia, has effectively contributed to consolidating the Syrians’ steadfastness in the war against terrorism and all the way through restoring security and creating the favorable conditions to enable them to decide the future of their country by themselves.

The latest developments in Syria, particularly in relation to the cessation of hostilities agreement, the expanding circle of the national reconciliations and the Syrian dialogue in Geneva, were the main topics of discussion during the meeting.

Source: Agencies

19-03-2016 – 17:16 Last updated 19-03-2016 – 17:16

 

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Putin was summarizing the results of the Russian five-month-long anti-terror campaign in Syria at a solemn ceremony in Moscow.

The Russian president said Moscow was open in saying from the start of the operation that it was a limited campaign with a set deadline.

“We have created the conditions for a peace process. We have established constructive and positive cooperation with the US and a number of other countries, with respectable opposition forces in Syria, which really want to end the war and find a political solution of the conflict. You, Russian soldiers, paved that way,” Putin told the Russian military personnel who took part in the campaign.

He added that the Syrian Army, with Russia’s support, can now hold out against terrorist forces and take back terrorist-controlled territories.

The president acknowledged that the pull-out may be reversed, if necessary, even though Moscow would not want to see such a development. He also stressed that advanced air defense systems deployed in Syria for protection of Russian military sites remain there and would attack any hostile forces threatening them.

“We stick to the fundamental international laws and believe that nobody has the right to violate Syria’s sovereign airspace. We have created an effective mechanism for prevention of air incidents with the Americans, but all our partners have been warned that we would use our air defense systems against any target that we considered a threat to the Russian troops,” Putin said.

The Syrian operation cost Russia some $480 million, Putin said, and most of the funding came from the Russian Defense Ministry, which used money allocated for military training in 2015 to foot the bill.

Source: Agencies

17-03-2016 – 15:10 Last updated 17-03-2016 – 15:10

 

Related Articles

Staffan de Mistura’s Press Statement and Al Jafaari’s Press Conference Following Meeting with Staffan de Mistura

Al Jafaari’s Press Conference Following Meeting with Staffan de Mistura

Source

Al-Jaafari: Session with de Mistura was positive and constructive

14 March، 2016
Geneva, SANA

Head of the Syrian Arab Republic’s delegation to the intra-Syrian dialogue in Geneva Bashar al-Jaafari affirmed that the session held on Monday with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura was positive and constructive.

In a statement to journalists following the meeting with de Mistura, al-Jaafari said “we discussed in this session the importance and need for good preparation in terms of form, which would allow us to begin on solid basis in order to discuss the substance and essence.”

He noted that there was a mutual agreement between the Syrian Arab Republic delegation and the Special Envoy regarding the importance of the aspect of good preparation and finalizing the vision regarding agreement over the framework of dialogue in terms of form, because in diplomatic work, form controls the success of the essential aspect to a large degree.

Al-Jaafari went on the explain that the form aspect he refers to covers issues such as who are the delegations that came to Geneva, circumventing the gaps that were present in the first round of talks, who is on the list of names of participants, and treating all delegations equally.

Jaafari 2

“The dialogue was positive and constructive. We as the Syrian Arab Republic delegation upheld our responsibility in helping to prepare well for the stage of transitioning from form to substance, as we presented ideas and opinions titled ‘essential elements for the political resolution’ which should enrich de Misutra’s diplomatic efforts when he meets the other delegations,” he explained,

“We will move now to the stage of preparing well for the second meeting with de Mistura which will take place on Wednesday,” al-Jaafari added, noting that de Mistura said that the form of dialogue he intends to carry out will be in the form of a meeting with the Syrian Arab Republic delegation on one day and meetings with other delegations on the next day.

Al-Jaafari said he hopes that all the other delegations are present in Geneva as per UN resolution no.2254, the Vienna statements, and the Munich declaration, all of which talked about the need for the widest spectrum of Syrian opposition to be represented in dialogue.

“We want to hold dialogue as Syrians and under Syrian leadership without any foreign interference and without any preconditions,” he asserted, adding that any deviation from these principles will surely mean that there are those who seek to detail this round of talks as they did in the previous round.

“We are motivated by our sense of responsibility toward our people and homeland, and this responsibility is one of the forms of strength granted to us by the Syrian people to represent them in this round of Syrian-Syrian dialogue,” al-Jaafari concluded.

In a similar statement to journalists after the meeting, de Misutra said the meeting was useful and that it discussed procedural issues and resulted in deducing facts, adding that the meeting scheduled Wednesday will clarify some points, and that it will focus on the agenda which is based on Security Council resolution no. 2254.

De Mistura

He also said that he will brief the Security Council later in the evening on the progress made today and on how to resolve any difficulties if any are present.

De Mistura said the main point he will focus on is inclusivity, and that interlocutors must be updated on the latest developments, noting that he met Syrian women who will have considerable influence on what will be done because there needs to be a clear picture of what is happening, adding that there are some ideas floating that he doesn’t want to comment on because it’s still premature to do so.

In response to a question on the ” transitional political process”, de Mistura said discussing this matter would mean prejudging the talks, and called for referring to resolution no. 2254 and the Geneva communiqué.

As for discussing the agenda and more detailed political issue, the Special Envoy said the agenda is very important and that the aforementioned resolution discusses issues related to rule and elections, adding that there is determination to focus on the essence of the issue.

Regarding what is being referred to as “plan B,” de Mistura said that he doesn’t know if anyone present has a plan B; rather he only knows about plan A which is giving the maximum chances and exerting maximum pressure by the international community to ensure the success of intra-Syrian dialogue, ending violence, and delivering humanitarian aid, adding that the alternative “will be regrettably returning to where we were, which was basically an ongoing conflict.”

Hazem Sabbagh


 

Al Jaafari: Attempts to Limit Representation at Syria Talks ‘Equal to Sabotage’

Head of the Syrian government’s delegation Bashar Jaafari said that there should be a wide representation of Syrian oppositioners at intra-Syrian talks.

GENEVA (Sputnik –Middle East) — All attempts to impose limits on the list of participants at the intra-Syrian peace talks are equal to “sabotage” of the current round of the talks, head of the Syrian government’s delegation Bashar Jaafari told reporters after meeting with UN Special Envoy De Mustura.

“There should be a wide representation of Syrian oppositioners at these talks…We want to lead the dialogue as Syrians, without external interference…,” Jaafari told reporters.

“Those who deviate from these basics are trying to sabotage this round of talks, just like the last time,” he stressed.


Lavrov: Excluding Kurds from Geneva Talks a Sign of Weakness

 

Staffan de Mistura’s Press Statement Following Meeting with Syrian Delegation

De Mistura: Syrian people will determine their future

14 March، 2016
Geneva, SANA

The UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura on Monday called upon the international community to exert more efforts for making the intra-Syrian dialogue in Geneva a success, stressing that preconditions are not acceptable and that the Syrian people are the ones to determine their future.

In a press conference on Monday, the Special Envoy said that the intra-Syrian dialogue is important and required by all members of the international community, pointing out that he will brief the UN Security Council on today’s talks, adding that Monday’s agenda is based on UN Security Council resolution no. 2254 and the Geneva communiqué principles.

De Mistura said that some sides have attempted to hamper the dialogue, but he will help hold it with all means possible, stressing that there will be no preconditions, as what is sought is honesty and opportunities of rapprochement, in addition to making the outcomes of the dialogue positive, considering that the alternative, what some sides call “Plan B” is returning to war and to a situation worse than before.

He noted that there has been some sort of fragility in the implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement, adding that humanitarian aid reached many areas, and that there is progress in the aid issue although it’s still insufficient.

De Mistura pointed out that the aim was for the talks to be as inclusive as possible and to include all Syrian sides, stressing the need for finding standards that allow all sides to participate in the intra-Syrian dialogue, which should tackle all issues.

He said that dialogue cannot focus just on procedures; rather it should tackle the issues related to the future of the Syrian people, adding that if he finds that there is no willingness to negotiate, he would refer the issue back to Russia and America, the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), and the Security Council.

The UN Envoy said that he and the UN Secretary-General share a view regarding the future of Syria which is based on the Syrians’ right to determine their future.

De Mistura added that a briefing on the process of dialogue will be given each Monday, with no exclusive meetings within the time of the dialogue, clarifying that such meetings could be done after dialogue, not during it.

He pointed out that the plan is to have three rounds of dialogue in Geneva, with the first round ending on March 24th followed by a 10-day break, then a second round of at least two weeks, before another recess and a third round.

“By then we believe we should have at least a clear roadmap. I’m not saying agreement, but a clear roadmap because that’s what Syria is expecting from all of us,” he added.

Rasha Milhem / Hazem Sabbagh

Presidency of Syrian Arab Republic: “Decision of decreasing number of Russian forces taken in coordination between Syria and Russia” ~ Presidents al-Assad, Putin agree to decrease number of Russian Air Forces in Syria ~ Coordination against terrorism is still in its highest level

Syrian Free Press

syria-presidency-350x455-2016-1


By Mazen, Syrian Arab News Agency, 14 March 2016


Presidency of Syrian Arab Republic: “Decision of decreasing number of Russian forces taken in coordination between Syria and Russia”

Presidency of the Syrian Arab Republic affirmed that Syria and Russian are still committed to combating terrorism wherever it was in Syria.

“We received many questions and inquires since the announcement of the phone call between President Bashar al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin about what has been circulated by some media institutions which are partners in shedding the Syrian blood and some social websites and internet for a group of strange stories and interpretations which are away from reality,” the Presidency said in a statement published on its page on Facebook.

The Presidency added that all those stories talk about “a Syrian-Russian dispute” which has led to the decision of decreasing the forces or that it is a Russian abandonment of combating terrorism in Syria.

The Presidency of the Syrian Arab Republic affirms that the step has been taken through full coordination between the Syrian and Russian sides, adding that this step was studied with care and accuracy in light of the latest field developments, the last of which is the cessation of hostilities.

The Presidency also affirms that Syria and Russia were and still are committed to combating terrorism in a joint way.


assad-putin-20151021-4

Presidents al-Assad and Putin agree to decrease number of Russian Air Forces in Syria

The Syrian and Russian sides agreed, during a telephone call between President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to decrease the number of the Russian air forces in Syria.

“After the successes achieved by the Syrian Arab Army, in cooperation with the Russian air force in combating terrorism and the restoration of security and stability to many regions in Syria, with an increase in reconciliations in the country… the Syrian and Russian sides agreed, during a phone call between Presidents Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin to decrease the number of the Russian air forces in Syria to cope with the current field stage and the continuation of the cessation of hostilities,” Presidency of the Syrian Arab Republic said in a statement published on its page on Facebook.

Meanwhile, in Moscow, the Kremlin announced that Presidents al-Assad and Putin discussed during a phone call the process of applying “the cessation of hostilities” in Syria.

“The two sides expressed in a joint point of view that the cessation of hostilities has contributed to a sharp retreat in the bloodshed in Syria and an improvement in the humanitarian situation in the country, preparing suitable conditions for the start of the political settlement process under the auspices of the United Nations,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

Presidents al-Assad and Putin pointed out that “the task of the Russian air force has allowed for achieving a turning- point in combating terrorism, dissociating its infrastructure and inflicting it heavy losses in personnel.”

The statement noted that the Russian air forces have carried out the main missions they were empowered for, and agreement has been done to withdraw the largest part of the Russian warplane group from Syria with keeping a center that guarantees flights in Syria to observe the provisions of cessation of hostilities in Syria.

“President al-Assad has hailed, during the phone call, the professionalism and heroism of the Russian officers and soldiers who participated in the combat tasks, thanking Russia for its great contribution to combating terrorism and offering humanitarian aid to the Syrians,” the Kremlin said.

It added that President al-Assad “reiterated Syria’s readiness to start the political process as soon as possible”, hoping “the Syrian-Syrian dialogue in Geneva would give tangible outcomes.”

In the same context, the Kremlin said that President Putin held a tripartite meeting with Russian Foreign and Defense Ministers, instructing Minister of Defense to start withdrawing the main part of “the Russian military group”from the Syrian Arab Republic as of Tuesday after it has fulfilled the mission it was commissioned with.

“All outcomes of the tripartite meeting have been done in coordination with President al-Assad,” the Kremlin added.


Omran al-Zoubi-20150908

Information Minister: Coordination between Syria, Russia against terrorism is still in its highest level

Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said on Monday that coordination between Syria and Russia against terrorism is still in its highest level and it will remain so.

“The friends in Russia are fully committed to combating terrorism,” Al-Zoubi said during a telephone call with the Syrian TV commenting on an agreement to decrease the number of Russian air forces in Syria.

He added “in light of the advances gained by the Syrian army in many regions and the cessation of hostilities as well as the start of local reconciliations in a lot of areas, and for reasons which are related to other sides at the Russian military field leadership, the decision was taken in coordination and agreement between the Syrian and Russian leaderships, no more, no less.”

Minister al-Zoubi affirmed that those were the real and essential reasons behind that step, saying that the Syrian Arab army is committed to “the cessation of hostilities” agreement and will respond to any breaches, so, there is no change in the political or military side in the relation between Syria and Russia.


SOURCES:
By Mazen, Syrian Arab News Agency, 14/3/2016, 1 - 2 - 3
Submitted by SyrianPatriots 
War Press Info Network at:
https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2016/03/15/assad-putin-decision/
~

Given the crucial breakthroughs and the achieved objectives in fighting the terrorist organizations, Putin ordered to start withdrawing from Syria

Syrian Free Press

Vladimir Putin interview to TASS and Xinhua news agencies

‘Objectives Achieved’: Putin Orders Start of Withdrawal From Syria Beginning Tuesday

(SputnikNews) ~ Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that Moscow will begin withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria.

On Monday, President Putin indicated that the Kremlin will start withdrawing its main forces in Syria, saying that the military has largely achieved its objectives.

“I think that the task that was assigned to the Ministry of Defense and the armed forces as a whole has achieved its goal, and so I order the defense minister to start tomorrow withdrawing the main part of our military factions from the Syrian Arab Republic,” President Putin said during a meeting with the Russian Defense and Foreign Ministries, according to RIA Novosti.

The withdrawal will begin on Tuesday.

“With the participation of the Russian military…the Syrian armed forces and patriotic Syrian forces have been able to achieve a fundamental turnaround in the fight against international terrorism and have taken the initiative in almost all respects,” the Russian president said.

“There has been a significant turning point in the fight against terrorism,”Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

Putin expressed hope that this decision will encourage all parties involved in the Syrian conflict to pursue a peaceful resolution.

“I ask the ministry of foreign affairs to intensify the participation of the Russian Federation in the organization of the peace process towards a solution to the Syrian crisis,” Putin said.

Moscow will, however, maintain a military presence in Syria, and a deadline for complete withdrawal has not yet been announced. Putin also indicated that Russian forces will remain at the port of Tartus and Hmeymim airbase in Latakia.

“Our bases of operations — our naval base in Tartus and our air base at Hmeymim — will operate as usual. They should be protected from land, sea, and air,” Putin said. “That part of our military group has traditionally been in Syria over the course of many years, and today will have to perform a very important function in monitoring the ceasefire and creating conditions for the peace process.”

According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Russia has informed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of the decision. A statement from Assad’s office stresses that the Kremlin has nonetheless pledged to continue its support for Syria in “confronting terrorism.”

Assad also recognized the “professionalism, courage and heroism” of Russian Army soldiers and officers and thanked Moscow for its extensive help in fighting terrorism and in providing humanitarian relief and assistance to the civilian population of Syria.

During the phone call, both Assad and Putin agreed that the ceasefire has led to significant reduction in bloodshed, and the humanitarian situation has improved.

“The sides expressed shared opinion that the implementation of the ceasefire in Syria has helped to sharply reduce the bloodshed and to improve the humanitarian situation in the country,” the Kremlin press service said in a statement.

Assad also expressed hope that peace talks in Geneva will lead to concrete results, and stressed the need for a political process in Syria.

Earlier on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow’s anti-terrorist air campaign created the conditions for political process on Syrian reconciliation.


SOURCES:
SputnikNews
Submitted by SyrianPatriots 
War Press Info Network at:
https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2016/03/15/moscow-withdrawal/
~

بوتين السريع يفاجئ دائماً …والغرب بطيء الاستيعاب والحركة

ناصر قنديل

آذار 15, 2016

– بعدما ثبت أن داعش والنصرة قد التهما الجغرافيا التي كان يدّعي الغرب أنها تحت سيطرة المعارضة السورية، وأن الغرب وعلى رأسه واشنطن يدرك ذلك ويدرك مخاطره على أمنه مع ما بدأ يجري في أوروبا، ويدرك ويقول على ألسنة كبار قادته أن القيادة التركية السعودية للأزمة السورية أوصلت الأمور إلى هذا الحد، لكن ثبت أيضاً أن هذا الغرب يبدو عاجزاً عن وضع حد لهذا المسار التآكلي بسبب الانتهازية السياسية من جهة والمصالح الشخصية لحكامه من جهة مقابلة، ولعبة المزايدات التي تحكم صراعاته السياسية الداخلية من جهة ثالثة، عندها قرر الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين التدخل العسكري المباشر في سوريا، وأظهر العزم والقدرة على تغيير الموازين، فاستردّ الجيش السوري زمام المبادرة عسكرياً، وأغلق الحدود التركية مع سوريا، ومنح القوى الكردية المعارضة والمسلحة فرصة إمساك جزء من هذه الحدود، وأجبر الغرب على تصنيف جبهة النصرة على لائحة الإرهاب رغماً عن السعودية وتركيا وإسرائيل وبعض أميركا، وفرض على داعش والنصرة الانتقال من الهجوم إلى الدفاع، وعلى سائر الجماعات المسلحة الاختيار بين حل سياسي يبدأ بهدنة وينتهي بشراكة من ضمن مؤسسات الدولة السورية وغطاء المجتمع الدولي في الحرب على الإرهاب، أو الانضواء تحت جناح النصرة وداعش وتلقي نتائج هذه الحرب من ضمن معسكر الإرهاب.

– بقي الغرب وعلى رأسه أميركا ثلاثة شهور حتى فهم المتغيّرات وجدية ما أحدثه التدخل الروسي من جهة، ولكنه بقي يناور متصوراً قدرة على ابتزاز روسيا بحاجتها لتغطية دورها في سوريا، وتركها وحدها تخوض الحرب على الإرهاب وهو مرتاح للشراكة في الغنم دون شراكة في الغرم، يكسب من نتائج التدخل الروسي وبالمقابل يرشقه بالحجارة، حتى وصل الضغط الروسي إلى التهديد بالقدرة على إحداث تغيير عسكري يصير الغرب فيه حاجة تجميلية في سوريا، فبدأ الغرب الاستجابة متأخراً، وكان مسار فيينا ومن بعده قرار مجلس الأمن بترتيب الأولويات لحل سياسي يضع جانباً مصير الرئاسة السورية ويترك تحديدها للسوريين عبر صناديق الاقتراع ما يسقط كل المشروع الذي قامت الحرب على أساسه، لكن الغرب يمارس الاحتيال في مجالين، في مجال التباطؤ والتلكؤ بتصنيف التنظيمات الإرهابية وهو يحلم بتحييد جبهة النصرة لفرضها شريكاً في الحل السياسي، وفي مجال آخر يحصر بالرياض تشكيل وفد المعارضة ويستبعد أصدقاء روسيا وقوى حية في المعارضة تسرع بوجودها بالحل السياسي، ويمنح جماعة المعارضة في الرياض حق الفيتو ويختبئ وراءها بمطالب تعيد المفاوضات على الحل السياسي إلى نقطة الصفر، تحت شعار هيئة الحكم الانتقالي، فكان ميونيخ وكانت الهدنة وحسمت آلية تصنيف التنظيمات الإرهابية بقوة الضغط الروسي وحسم أمر النصرة، وجاء وقت جنيف والمفاوضات وظهور الطريق المسدود مرة أخرى في إطار التفاوض وسقف الحل السياسي معاً، كما في المرة التي سبقت.

– بدا لروسيا أن سلوك الغرب المتباطئ والمتلكئ ينطلق من فهم خاطئ يحكمه وهم أن روسيا متورّطة في سوريا عسكرياً وتحتاج تحقيق إنجازات سياسية لتغطية مواصلة الدور العسكري، وأن عليها أن تدفع ثمن هذه الإنجازات السياسية بدلال ودلع جماعة الرياض والرياض نفسها، وأن الغرب غير مضطر لدفع ثمن الشراكة في إنتاج الحل السياسي المتفق عليه، وأن عائدات الدور الروسي في إضعاف وكبح الإرهاب يقطف ثمارها الغرب بلا شراكة في أي كلفة بعدما كان مذعوراً من تناميها، وراهن الغرب أن موسكو التي ضمنت تقوية موقع حليفها الرئيس بشار الأسد وضمنت شراكته بمفهوم موحّد معها في الحل السياسي، يمكن أن تضغط عليه لتضمن المزيد مما تحتاجه وتطلبه الرياض وجماعتها، ويمكن أن تتخلى عن مشاركة الأكراد في المفاوضات، وتتخلى عن معادلة حكومة في ظل الرئيس الأسد وصلاحياته، وترتضي بقاءه بلا صلاحيات فيفوّض هذه الصلاحيات للحكومة التي تتشكل عبر المفاوضات. عندها للمرة الثانية ضرب فلاديمير بوتين ضربته بسرعة، فقرر الرئيس الروسي أن يقول لقادة الغرب، كلاماً فاصلاً، مضمونه أن روسيا ليست في مأزق، ولا تحتاج لتغطية دورها في سوريا من أحد فقواعدها شرعية وباقية، ومحمية، وحليفها قوي وقادر، وتأخير الحل السياسي تأخير للحرب على الإرهاب، والخسائر الناجمة عن التأخير ستكون على الجميع، لكنها على الغرب قبل روسيا وأكثر، ومن يريد أمنه عليه أن يدفع ثمن هذا الأمن، والدلال والدلع للرياض وجماعتها إذا كان هو سبب وجود الإرهاب وتجذّره، كما يقول الرئيس الأميركي باراك أوباما، فليكن أيضاً سبباً لضياع فرص الحل السياسي وتوحيد جهود الحرب على الإرهاب، وليكن السبب للثمن الذي سيدفعه الغرب بكامل وعيه وعلمه، لكن من حسابه وليس من حساب روسيا.

– قال الرئيس بوتين حققنا أغلب أهداف تدخلنا العسكري، فمنعنا تنامي قدرات الإرهاب وأغلقنا الحدود التركية السورية خط الدعم الرئيس لهذا الإرهاب، وفرضنا سقفاً سياسياً واقعياً للحل السياسي وبدأت مندرجات هدنة جدية للمرة الأولى في تاريخ الحرب، وحسم تصنيف الإرهاب، وأمننا نحفظه من سوريا دون منّة من أحد وحاجة لأحد، لأن قواعدنا باقية وكما تحمينا سنحميها، لكن طالما أن المهمة شارفت على النهاية وإكمالها لا يتوقف علينا وحدنا، بل ينتظر جدية وحسماً من سوانا فلن نبقى أسرى الانتظار وسنسحب أغلب القوات، والقصد هنا، الغارات الكثيفة ستتوقف، وقد صار أغلبها على داعش، ما يعني أن الحرب المتسارعة على داعش، تستدعي تسريع الحل السياسي وتجميع القدرات الدولية بالتعاون مع حكومة سورية موحدة، ويبدو أنكم غير جاهزين لذلك بعد، وتخترعون الأعذار للتباطؤ، فليكن. نحن سنبتعد قليلاً وننتظر، ولكن تحملوا أنتم ثمن الانتظار.

– كما فاجأهم بوتين بقرار التدخل السريع، يفاجئهم بقرار الانسحاب السريع، وليقرروا الآن مصالحهم ويحسبوها بدقة، ويختاروا بين دلع الرياض وجماعتها، لقاء حساباتهم السياسية الخاطئة وحساباتهم المالية المشبوهة والسرية في سويسرا، وبين أمن بلادهم ومستقبل حكوماتهم.

 

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DE MISTURA NOT SO MYSTERIOUS; DR. ASSAD KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT’S IN HIS BAG OF TRICKS; FEDERALISM AS A TROJAN HORSE

Ziad Fadel

 

Hubble bubble, toil and trouble.  Abracadabra, please and thank you.  Staffan De Mistura, practices the black arts at the United Nations.

“White people think they are so clever.  Clever to a fault.  When they can’t have their way through the front, they go through the back door.  And when they can’t open any doors, they just blow the house up.” Ziad A. Fadel from his “Compendium of Ziad’s Quotations” (Random House, 2017) 

Staffan De Mistura is no mystery to SyrPer.  He comes as the third in a short list of failures starting with Kofi Annan, and then, Lakhdar Brahimi.  All were complete flops.  In fact, SyrPer awarded Lakhdar Brahimi the annual Miguel De Cervantes Don Quixote Award for Tilting at Windmills in appreciation of his uselessness as a U.N. mediator for the Syrian crisis.  Yet, despite prior shortcomings and suspicious proclamations, the tag-team of Annan-Brahimi managed to establish one very serious fact on the ground:  you have to have the involvement of Russia to get anything done right.  And so, with Vladimir Putin in the saddle, much of the previous impediments to the convening of a conference to resolve the crisis were eliminated.

Russia’s Marlboro Man incarnate.  I can hear the Elmer Bernstein theme song from the “Magnificent Seven” arranged by Serge Prokofiev.

So what were the impediments, you ask? Let’s list them:

1.  The Syrian Opposition, couched in the singular, belied the ugly truth that it was one “opposition”.  Instead, it was an oleo of groups and individuals motivated by the desire to oust the very popular president of Syria who just happened to be:

a.  Alawite (Although his religiosity won’t get him through the Pearly Gates)

b.  A Ba’athist (Secular and Pan Arab)

c.  Progressive (A real downer for dyed-in-the-wool Islamists)

d. Connected to Iran (Makes Zionists, Wahhabists and Qataris cringe)

e. Connected to Russia (Makes Americans and NATO-ists twitch uncontrollably)

f. Rich as Croesus. (Hey, he’s an Arab leader of an Arab country. What did you expect?)

g. Married to a gorgeous and superbly educated Syrian woman born in England. (This really miffs Erdoghan whose wife resembles a samovar)

h. Blue-eyed.  This is a major obsession with Obama.  “Huccum I don’t gots dem blue eyes?” Sorry Barack, it’s the Crusades.  You missed it.

And, then, there is the makeup of the opposition:

2.  The Syrian Opposition hates itself.  It would be nigh impossible to find one group or one individual who didn’t despise all the rest.  For example:

a.  Dr. Haitham Al-Mannaa’ considers all other groups terrorists.  All other groups think Al-Mannaa’ works for Dr. Assad. Nizaar Nayyoof, a left-leaning Alawite opposition activist and award winning non-entity, is suspected of being an Assad agent although he spent 10 years in a Syrian prison ostensibly, according to his enemies, to write a thesis on the penal system, a veritable sequel to “Shock Corridor”.  Then there’s Captain Kangaroo, a/k/a George Sabra who once led the ineptly named “National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces” (NACOSROF) -well, isn’t that precious?  As a Christian communist, he mixes Antiochian Orthodox rituals with devil worship just to bide his time before his anticipated rise to power as the new president of Syria.  (He will be lucky if the Syrian Political Security Bureau lets him pick his preferred noose at his upcoming execution.)          

George Sabra, seen here at his “penthouse” apartment in an Istanbul bordello courtesy of MIT’s Hakan Fidan.

b.  Then, there’s the hotelier opposition who get to stay in 5 star hotels in cities like Geneva, Istanbul, Cairo, Riyadh, Doha, Madrid, Paris and Newark.  Their lives are spent figuring out what they are going to do after Dr. Assad decides he’s going to run for his third term as president.  Haitham Al-Maalih, who has called for Dr. Assad’s execution, going so far as to promote the beheading of all the Assad children, must be planning a renewal of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” which he might successfully produce in Borneo.  Then there’s Ma`moun Al-Homsi, who famously pointed an accusatory index finger at an imaginary audience of Alawites, as he warned them of standing up and defending their country.  He certainly has a great future as Syria’s new Minister of Subterranean Hygiene.  Other Holiday Inn luminaries are:  Ghassan “Shitto” Hitto, Ahmad Al-Khateeb and the very forgettable Turkish matron, Suhair Al-Atassi,  whose future selling Avon cosmetics at the Reyanli Refugee Camp is virtually assured.

c.  But, there’s also the Saudi-Qatari-Raghead coalition of disgruntled anti-Iranian faux-Sunni Wahhabist blaspheming wigglers who perform any act, no matter how foul, to please their Arabian financiers.  These include such sedenterized grubs like Ahmad Jarbaa, a scion of the illustrious Shammar tribe which spans areas from Syria, Iraq to Jordan and Arabia.   For some reason, the white CIA goons in Langley thought he’d be just “nifty” as an on-site comprador, what his history as Syria’s reigning Super Pimp.   And, also, Kamaal Labwaani, who has made Occupied Palestine his new home as he grovels for jackbooted Zionist affection whilst snubbing his nose at Palestinians who could never have it so good.  Why he actually told the Mileikowski (Netanyahu) junta that he would “personally” turn over the Golan to them once Dr. Assad was overthrown.  Such dreams in the minds of such imbeciles.

And, there is the 3rd impediment which is an axis of nations committed to ousting the president of Syria because he trucks with the Iranians and has given Iran the go-ahead for its game-changing natural gas pipeline across Iraq to the Syrian coast.  The axis is made up of Saudi Arabia, the Zionist Obscenity and Turkey – a pretty formidable looking alliance but for the presence of the first member which has managed to boondoggle in a war against the poorest, and, yet, the most obdurate nation in the Arab World,  Yemen.  And we note, with much consternation – spiced with the usual venom – that each has found his own quagmire; the Turks in northern Syria with the PKK and the Zionists who are planning another dimwitted invasion of Lebanon to take on Hizbollah and, not to be neglected, Saudi Arabia for the reasons set forth herein-above.  Sounds like someone is planning his own big exit, doesn’t it?  Whatever the case, these nations have no interest in the success of the Geneva talks. To the contrary, they have every reason to scupper the talks.

The U.S. is struggling to keep the Saudis happy while not immersing itself in another foreign catastrophe.  Obama’s recent interview with the Atlantic Monthly said a lot about his vision for the U.S., even after he leaves office.  It seems the Obama Doctrine, using other people’s armies to accomplish American strategic interests, has given way to a more subtle form of isolationism.  Obama lambasted Cameron for the mess in Libya and virtually rubbed the Saudi’s snouts in their own ordure when he called them free-loaders.  Yet, while American-Saudi relations may have reached an all-time low, the U.S. has not given up on using chicanery to deflect any ridicule from their once beloved Wahhabist allies.

The U.S. actually convinced many of the “opposition” that the issue of Dr. Assad’s future – that is the presidency itself – was a critical part of the agenda and still up for grabs.  Muhammad ‘Alloosh, whose derelict brother was recently vaporized by the Syrian Air Force in the Ghouta, declared pompously on Thursday that no talks would be meaningful without the departure of Dr. Assad.  This was actually repeated, using different patter, by the U.N. mediator himself who started a rumor about presidential elections and a new constitution in the next 6 months.  The Syrian government, speaking through Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Mu’allim and the chief negotiator at the Geneva talks, Dr. Bashar Al-Ja’fari, quickly disabused the opposition of any such possibility.  Even the Russian team further dampened the atmosphere by reiterating a legalistic argument that only the Syrian people could decide the fate of their leader.

So, what does the U.S. do?  It begins to float another idea which discloses Washington’s (correction: Neo-Conservative Washington’s) real intent.  This is something we have written about before:  create new states as buffers against the economic expansion of Iran.  Since the first effort to destroy Syria’s government was a miserable failure, the U.S. has embarked on a new, oooh-so-clever plan:  Federalism!  Let’s chop up Syria into states which are self-governing with a sterile central government teetering-and-tottering on the margins of oblivion.  If the U.S. can get the parties to accept, for example, a United States of Syria, comprised of the State of Kurdistan, the State of Druzistan, the State of Alawistaan, the State of Turkomanistaan, the State of ISIS-Wahhabistan, Sunnistaan, Orthodoxistaan and Armenistaan, then, you manipulate the configurations of the states such that no Iranian oil gas line can cross any friendly territory.  Isn’t that unbelievably intelligent?  Wow.

De Mistura, like his predecessors, works for the United States and Europe.  Make no mistake about it, he advertises his occidental tastes by merely dressing every morning.  He knows who pays his fees and he’s not concealing his own collusion with John Kerry in kiting trial balloons at the conference to see if maybe one of them will endure.  So far, Dr. Ja’fari, has shot down each one.  Waleed Al-Mu’allim went even further and told the world that Dr. Assad’s presidency is a “red line”.

So, what  will the opposition do?  Gee, folks, I just don’t care.  And what will the Saudi apes do?  Ditto.  It appears that with no chance of achieving anything at the conference, the military option remains the only one.  All this will play out as the Syrian Army and Russian Air Force continue their massive onslaught against the only allies of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Khazaristan who are killing Syrians:  the terrorists – ISIS and Alqaeda.  What a universe of hypocrisy for the United States and NATO in which Obama, Cameron and Hollande can wallow.  We know what you’re doing, De Mistura.

________________________________________________________

NEWS AND COMMENT:

Read about a new Zionist-Turkish-Saudi security arc, and all without the U.S.:

http://thesaker.is/fundamentalism-on-the-rise-a-sunni-jewish-convergence/

Read more

Syrian FM al-Moallem: “UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura is not authorized to set date for Syria’s upcoming elections … only 24 hour waiting in Geneva for other parties to show up”

 

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Damascus, 12 March 2016 ~ Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem said Saturday UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has no right to talk about Syrian presidential elections, noting that the Syrian Arab Republic delegation will not wait in Geneva forever for other parties to decide to show up.

During a press conference, al-Moallem said the Syrian Arab Republic delegation received a letter from de Mistura scheduling Monday as a date for meeting at the UN HQ in Geneva within the Syrian-Syrian dialogue.

“Meeting with our delegation at first is a good thing,” he said, adding however that the Republic’s delegation “will not repeat the same mistake that happened in the previous round. They are going to wait for 24 hours only.”

“We are looking forward to having dialogue with the broadest spectrum of opposition groups in implementation of de Mistura’s mandate by the UN Security Council and the Vienna and Munich communiqués, particularly the national opposition…that is not linked to any foreign agendas,” al-Moallem added.

He commented on the UN Envoy’s recent statements setting up a schedule for Geneva talks which he said will discuss the regime, the constitution and the parliamentary and presidential elections, saying de Mistura doesn’t have the right to set a schedule, which is something up to the dialogue parties.



He went on saying that de Mistura must be aware, when he talks about the constitution, that it is the national unity government, the subject of discussion in the future, that will appoint a committee to draft a new constitution or amend the standing one, stressing that any outcome will be subject to referendum for approval.

Regarding the presidential elections, al-Moallem stressed that neither de Mistura nor anyone else whomsoever can discuss this issue as it is “an exclusive right of the Syrian people,” dismissing what the envoy said as “a deviation from all the UN documents.”

“We will no longer accept that [de Mistura] gives up objectivity to please this or that party, and our delegation will reject any attempt to put this issue on the schedule,” he added.

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As for the upcoming parliamentary elections, al-Moallem said fulfilling the elections is part of the constitution, stressing that this issue should be respected where no reservations can be accepted by anyone, calling for a high turnout of Syrian voters.

Al-Moallem stressed that Syria is committed to the cessation of hostilities agreement, noting that there have been breaches of the agreement by the armed groups that were responded to by the army sometimes and overlooked in other times.

“We affirm out armed forces’ right to respond to breaches,” he added.

He used this opportunity to urge those who have taken up weapons to utilize the agreement of the cessation of hostilities and engage in reconciliations.

The crisis, he affirmed, is coming to an end, and we hereby welcome all those who want to join our armed forces in the fight against ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and the terrorist organizations linked to them,” added al-Moallem.

In his comments on the talk about foreign ground intervention in Syria that came up in the past period, al-Moallem reaffirmed that “No one dares to intervene in Syria in a ground war,

and that this talk has receded, noting that US President Barack Obama’s recent speech proved that he is not going to such a war.

“I say with confidence that our people will reject any attempts at dividing [the country],” he said.

Al-Moallem referred to the recent statements about a federal model in Syria made by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov as circulated by the media, clarifying that the statements were not quoted objectively because Ryabkov made it contingent on the Syrians’ approval.

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“I say as a Syrian citizen, and I’m sure you are with me, that we reject the talk about federalism and we are with the unity of Syria,” he added.

The Foreign Minister reiterated in comments on statements by the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir that the latter is always repeating his talk at all occasions and what he said “was worthless”. “Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones,” al-Moallem said.

He asserted that the Syrian people are optimistic about the talks in Geneva, adding however that while the Syrian Arab Republic’s delegation is going to Geneva with the intention to made the dialogue a success, this issue depends also on the other parties as well.

“If those have illusions of taking over power through Geneva after they failed in the battlefield, they will fail once again”, he added.

He made it clear that nowhere in the UN documents there is something that talks about a transition period of presidency, “which is why there should be agreement on the definition of transition period.”

“As far as we understand it, transition is to move from a standing constitution to a new one and from a standing government to another that involves the other party,” he said.

Al-Moallem went on saying that the standing constitution will remain in place until holding a referendum by the Syrian people on a new or an amended one, reiterating again that there is no link between the legislative elections and what is going on in Geneva.

“We are going to Geneva and we do not know with whom we will have dialogue,” he said, reiterating that the Republic’s delegation will wait only 24 hours for the other parties to show up and if the other parties don’t show up by that time, the delegation will leave Geneva and the other party will be held responsible for the failure of the talks.

Al-Moallem affirmed that the Republic’s delegation does not put preconditions for the dialogue in Geneva, adding that those who know Syria and the Syrian leadership well realize that “we do not bow to anyone, whether states or groups.”

“We will not have dialogue with any side that discusses the position of the president. This is a red line and it is up to the Syrians alone”, he reiterated.

Asked about the Kurds in Syria, al-Moallem affirmed that “Our brothers, the Kurds, are Syrian citizens, and they are with us in the same trench against ISIS.”

Answering a question by SANA reporter on the renewed U.S. talk about training the so-called “moderate opposition” and allocating for that purpose a sum of USD 500 million that have gone to ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists, al-Moallem wondered whether there is something called “moderate opposition”, saying Syria, throughout five years, has heard so many names and has been used to conspiring.

“Nevertheless, we are optimistic that we are beginning to get out of the crisis,” he added.

Al-Moallem said the Syrian government has managed to get humanitarian aid to enter the most affected areas based on its commitments towards its citizens, vowing to keep up efforts to deliver aid to all those who need it wherever they are on the Syrian land.

Al-Moallem pointed to the Turkish exploitation of the refugees’ issue, reminding that the Turkish regime had set up camps for the Syrian refugees even before they exited their localities.

“We are ready to take the necessary measures to ensure their return because they are our own citizens,” al-Moallem said referring to the Syrian refugees.

Al-Moallem said Erdogan is “blackmailing the entire world” by claiming that he is fighting terrorism while what he is doing is quite the reverse, pointing out that Western and European statements which feign care for the Syrian people are “lies”.

“If they truly care for the Syrian people, they would not have imposed political and economic sanctions that have negatively affected their lives,” he added.

Commenting on the Arab League’s decision against Hezbollah, al-Moallem described it as “ridiculous”, adding that the decision came as no surprise as the League had formerly authorized NATO to strike Libya.

In his reply to a question on national reconciliations, the minister said they are one of the priorities of the Syrian policy and that they contribute to quenching the flames of war, noting that the Russian role in this matter is to continue these reconciliations.

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RELATED:

Mouallem: “Le président Assad une ligne rouge, la crise s’approche de sa fin”

al-Manar, 12 mars 2016 ~ “Nous nous attendons à ce que le dialogue se déroule avec la majeure partie de l’opposition (…) et que la plus grande partie de cette opposition soit représentée, surtout l’opposition nationale qui n’a pas loué les hôtels cinq étoiles à l’étranger, et qui ne s’est jamais dépendue d’agendas extérieurs (…) aucune opposition ne peut prétendre qu’elle représente toutes les oppositions”, a martelé le chef de la diplomatie syrienne….(…)…


From the archives:

Syrian government: “UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura’s contradictory statements put his credibility at stake”

SANA via Syrian Free Press Network, 17 February 2016 ~ The Syrian government does not allow neither UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura nor anybody else to talk about testing Syria’s seriousness in any matter, an official source at the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said Tuesday night…..(…)…


SOURCES:
SANA, R. Milhem/H. Said
Submitted by Cem Ertür 
War Press Info Network at :
https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2016/03/12/moallem-mistura/
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