Interviews 12:33 25/05/2013

Bashar al-Assad: Israel supports Al Qaeda terrorists

President Bashar al-Assad affirmed that the basis for any political solution for the crisis in Syria is what the Syrian people want, which is decided through ballots, saying that Syria welcomes the Russian-US rapprochement, voicing Syria’s support for any suggestion which halts violence and leads to a political solution and its readiness to hold dialogue with any Syrian side which didn’t deal with Israel secretly or publically and which rejects terrorism, Global Research reported. 

In an interview with Argentina’s Clarin newspaper and Telam news agency, President al-Assad said that Israel supports terrorists, directs them and gives them the general plan of their movements according to its interests which intersect with those of several foreign sides including Qatar and Turkey which don’t want a political solution in Syria and which support terrorism.

Following is the abridged text of the interview:

- What has made the Syrian Crisis so complex and protracted?

- Firstly, numerous factors have influenced the Syrian crisis both internally and externally, the most significant of which is foreign interference. Secondly, the calculations of confrontational states that intervened in Syria have now proven incorrect. These states perceived their plan would succeed within weeks or months; this has not materialized. What has transpired is that the Syrian people have resisted, and continue to resist and reject all forms of external intervention. For us, it is a matter of safeguarding Syria.

- What is the total number of fallen victims in the crisis so far? Some sources report that the numbers exceed 70.000 people?

- The death of any Syrian is a tragic loss, regardless of the numbers; but one has to examine the credibility of these sources. We cannot ignore the fact that many of those that have died were foreigners who came to Syria to kill Syrians. There are also many missing who have been accounted for as dead without real authenticity. This affects the accuracy of the quoted numbers of the death toll. How many are Syrians? How many are foreigners? How many are missing? At present, there is no precise comprehensive number to quote. These numbers are constantly changing. Terrorists kill people and often put them in mass graves. We can only discover and account for those losses after the Syrian army goes into these areas.

- On this note, has excessive force been used by the government throughout the conflict?

- Here it is imperative to determine the meaning of “excessive force” in order to determine whether it has been used or not. Without a clear criterion to this notion, it is inconceivable to discuss the concept.

The response of the state generally amounts to the level of terrorism perpetrated against it. With more sophisticated levels of terrorism, our response to those threats intensifies.

At the beginning of the crisis, acts of terror were carried out by local groups using local armaments. With time, these armed groups were able to source more sophisticated and destructive weaponry and fighters, which allowed them to carry out terrorist acts on a much wider scale. This warranted a similar response from the Syrian army and security forces. The response in each scenario differs according to the form or methods of terror adopted by the terrorists and in a way to repel an area from terrorist insurgents whilst protecting civilian lives.

Therefore, the factors that determine our level of force relate to the types of weapons and terrorism techniques we are dealing with as well as our ultimate goal of protecting the lives of civilians and the country as a whole.

- Your Excellency always emphasize that the key to resolving the crisis is dialogue, which is most agreeable. How do you see the conference proposed at the end of this month in light of the initial agreement between the USA and Russia? How do you evaluate this process especially with the interference of France and UK?

- We reiterate our support for all steps that would entail stopping the violence in Syria and lead to a political solution. However, the cessation of violence is paramount to reaching a political settlement.

We welcome the Russian-American rapprochement and support its potentiality of being a platform to facilitate the resolution of the Syrian crisis. We do remain skeptical of the genuine intentions of certain western administrations towards seeking a realistic political solution in Syria. This caution is based on their continued support of terrorist groups in Syria. We are dedicated to pursuing a political solution, yet there are powers who are pressing for the failure of such a solution. This is a two-way process; it needs commitment from all sides.

- What role is Israel playing in the Syrian crisis, especially after the Israeli air strikes on sites inside Syria?

- Israel directly supports the terrorist movements in two ways. Firstly, through logistical means manifested by them publicly providing medical aid and hospital facilities to the injured terrorist fighters in the Golan Heights. Secondly, they provide them with directions and navigational support, regarding how to mount their attacks and which sites to target. For instance they attacked Radar sites, which are strictly related to the air defense systems that would detect and intercept any foreign air force activity. They have mobilized them to attack these air defense systems since they are an important deterrent in any military confrontation between Syria and Israel.

Therefore the Israeli support for the terrorists is twofold, logistical assistance and navigational help to direct the terrorist movements and operations on the ground.

- You condemn the presence of foreign fighters in Syria. Some would argue that fighters from Hezbollah and Iran are fighting alongside the Syrian army. What do you say on that?

- This narrative was crafted in the West when we documented the presence of foreign jihadists fighting in Syria. They created this notion that Hezbollah and Iran are also fighting in Syria as a counterweight.

Syria can rely on a population of 23 million; it does not require manpower sustenance from any country. We have at our disposal an army, security forces and the Syrian people to defend our country. Therefore, we have no necessity for any other group to fight on our behalf regardless of whether they are from Iran or Hezbollah. Our relations with Iran and Hezbollah are well known and span decades. It is well known that we exchange expertise on many fronts.

Regarding the claims that there are fighters from these entities in Syria, this would be a matter that is practically impossible to hide. First and foremost, the Syrian people would have identified them. So where could they possibly be? If there is ever a need or a requirement, we will be transparent and announce it formally. We are certainly not utilizing any external fighters in Syria from any Arab or foreign nationality. Personnel from Iran and Hezbollah have existed in Syria for years before the crisis, under agreements they do come and go into Syria formally.



Source Panorama.am
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