"And I have found both freedom and safety in my madness, the freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us. But let me not be too proud of my safety. Even a Thief in a jail is safe from another thief. "

Khalil Gibran (How I Became a Madman)

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NEWS AND ARTICLES / HABERLER VE MAKALELER

Thursday, April 06, 2017

President Bashar al-Assad interview given to Vecernji List- SANA

Damascus, SANA_ President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview to Croatian newspaper Vecernji List published Thursday, following is the full text:
Question 1: Mr. President, we are already into the sixth year of the Syrian war. After the recent victories achieved by the Syrian Army in Aleppo and Palmyra, and the ongoing reconciliations, is there a glimmer of hope of an end to the Syrian war?
President Assad: Of course, for without hope neither the country, nor the people, nor the state could withstand six years of an extremely ferocious war supported by tens of regional and Western countries, some of the wealthiest and most powerful countries in the world. Without hope, there wouldn’t have been a will. But the question is: how to turn this hope into reality? This has been possible so far through two practical approaches. The first is fighting terrorism, regardless of the different names and categories given to terrorist organizations, and the second is through achieving reconciliations with all those who want to lay down their weapons, return to their normal life, and to the embrace of their country. There has been progress on both fronts: in fighting terrorism and achieving reconciliations. That’s why I say there is more hope now than in the past years.
Question 2: In the negotiations conducted previously in Astana and now in Geneva, most negotiators on the other side belonged to the opposition which upholds Wahhabi, Salafi, and Jihadi thought. Why are you negotiating with these people in the first place? And is there in reality a moderate opposition as described by the media?
President Assad: This is a very important question, because Western officials, most prominently former US President Obama, said that the moderate opposition was an illusion or a fantasy. This is by their admission, they, who supported that opposition and gave it a false moderate cover. So, this moderate opposition does not exist. The opposition which exists is a Jihadi opposition in the perverted sense of Jihad of course. It is also indoctrinated in the perverted sense that does not accept neither dialogue nor a solution except through terrorism.
That is why we cannot, practically, reach any actual result with this part of the opposition. The evidence is that during the Astana negotiations they started their attack on the cities of Damascus and Hama and other parts of Syria, repeating the cycle of terrorism and the killing of innocents.
This opposition, between brackets, because it cannot be called opposition, these terrorists cannot be an opposition and cannot help reach a solution. Apart from that, these terrorist groups are themselves linked to the agendas of foreign countries. They do not belong to a certain current or movement among the Syrian people that seeks political reform or a certain solution, neither before nor during the war. Another part of these groups might look political in the sense that they do not carry arms, but they support terrorism. A third part is linked to the Saudi, Turkish, and Western agenda.

Question 3: Why are you negotiating with them?
President Assad: We do that because, in the beginning, many people did not believe that these groups do not want to lay down their weapons and move towards political action. We went in order to prove to all those who have doubts about this that these groups cannot engage in politics, and that they are terrorist groups at heart and will remain so to the end.
Question 4: The world has declared war on terrorism. Do you believe that declaration and in what they are doing today, and can we say that it’s only Syria that is fighting terrorism today?
President Assad: The world that declared war consists practically of Western countries which themselves support terrorism. Most countries of the world are against terrorism. They do not declare that, but they have been practically cooperating with us in one way or another during the war, and before the war, because terrorism did not start only with the war on Syria. Terrorism has always existed in the world and has become more widespread as a result of the different wars in the Middle East. But the Western countries which declared war on terrorism still support it up till now. They do not fight it. It is used only in name for domestic consumption. The fact of the matter is that they use terrorism as a card to achieve different political agendas, even when this terrorism backfires and claims victims in their own countries. But they do not acknowledge this fact.
As to who is fighting terrorism in Syria, it is basically the Syrian Arab Army. This is not only a claim because there are facts on the ground which prove it. The Syrian Arab Army has been able to make these achievements in fighting terrorists thanks, in the first place, to the Syrian fighters’ will, and thanks to popular support. Without popular support, it is not possible to achieve such victories. However, there has been verystrong support from our allies, whether it was Iran, Russia, or Hezbollah from Lebanon.