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Bashar al-Assad: "All contracts concluded with Russia are carried out"
Material posted: Publication date: 26-08-2013

The President of the Syrian Arab Republic in an exclusive interview to "Izvestiya" - about the threat of invasion by the U.S. and the West, relations with Vladimir Putin and the common destiny of Russians and Syrians.

In the midst of the "Syrian crisis", Alexander Potapov and Yuri Matsarsky met in Damascus with President Bashar Assad. In an exclusive interview to "Izvestiya," he said, who is actually using chemical weapons, commented on statements by Western politicians about the intent to exert military pressure on Syria and appreciated the assistance provided by Russia and its President the Syrian people.

Photo: Press service of the President of Syria Bashar al-Assad

- Mr President, the most pressing issue today – what is the situation in Syria? What territory remained under rebel control?

It's not about the territories that are under the control of terrorists, and territories under the control of the army. There is no one enemy, who occupied our land. We are dealing with terrorists, penetrating into the villages and outskirts of cities. It's the criminals who kill innocent civilians, destroy infrastructure ...

The army, security forces and the police tend to knock them out of the settlements and to destroy. Those who survive are transferred to other areas and join other gangs. Thus, the essence of our activity is destruction of terrorists.

The main reason for the continuation of hostilities - a huge number constantly coming into Syria terrorists from abroad. Monthly on our land comes their tens of thousands. In addition, continued funding of terrorists from abroad and supplying them with weapons.

But I assure you that there is no place that could not enter the government army – she comes in and destroys the terrorists wherever encounters them.

- The Western press today often says that the terrorists run about 40% or 70% of the territory of Syria. Actually as far as the Syrian government controls its territory?

- No army, no country in the world will not be able to be in full combat readiness in all areas of the country. Terrorists take advantage of this by trying to penetrate everywhere, where there is no army. We cleaned each province, which included terrorists. So I repeat, the problem is not in the territory where the terrorists are, and it changes every day and every hour. The problem in numerous militants arriving from abroad.

Could the Syrian Arab Army to enter in any area occupied by the terrorists and destroy them? I will tell you with all certainty: "Yes!". And the army continues to do it. This takes more time, because the war was imposed on us, instantly ends. It takes a relatively long time. And we pay a very heavy price for this war, for the destruction of all the terrorists in Syria.

Are those the terrorists you are talking about, some separate and distinct groups of radicals or is part of a huge force, which aims to destabilize the situation in the middle East, including in Syria?

We have dealt with individual groups and entire terrorist armies. But they are largely similar. First, ideologically. Secondly, they get money from some sources.

Their ideology – radicalism, do not accept the existence of any other religious views, also professed by the terrorists themselves. They have common ideological leaders such as Al-Zawahiri, but each group has its guide.

Their sponsors, as I said, the same, often entire States, for example, Saudi Arabia.

Despite the disunity of the groups, their sponsors and ideological leaders have the ability to manipulate each of them by radical messages. For example, they can tell them: "Muslims must carry out Jihad in Syria." As a result, thousands of militants are sent here to fight.

The sponsors also control the bandits, supplying arms and funds for specific terrorist acts.

In addition, the same Saudi Arabia combines the functions and ideologist and sponsor: circulate among the rebels Wahhabi worldview and supports them with money.

- The Syrian government says about the close relationship between Israel and the terrorists. But the mere mention of Israel makes the radical Islamists tantrum. How then can cooperation between them?

- Why Israel opens fire on our troops, when we strike the terrorists at the border? Maybe to prevent us? And why Israel gives blocked at the border terrorists away from our troops on its territory, and even then attack the Syrian part of the other side? Why Israel several times in recent months attacked parts of the Syrian Arab army?

But the main evidence of cooperation leads Israel itself.

Israel has said several times that in the country's hospitals treated dozens of terrorists. If these groups are so hated Israel and one utterance of its name brings them into hysterics and makes them hate, then why these radical groups that are fighting now against Egypt and Syria, throughout its history has not carried out any operations against Israel?

Well, let's remember who originally created these groups? These terrorists recruited and supported by USA and West, they were financed by Saudi Arabia since the early 80-ies, in order to fight the USSR in Afghanistan. How, then, are these groups created by the West and America, will be able to hit Israel?

Photo: Press service of the President of Syria Bashar al-Assad

- Our interview with You will be translated into many languages, many world leaders, including those who oppose You will read it. What you want to tell them?

- Among the heads of state at the present time many politicians, but few leaders. The fact that they do not know history and do not learn from it. Some people forget even the recent past.

Unless they have learned the lessons of the past 50 years? At least looked through the documents of their predecessors, who failed all wars since Vietnam and is still? Do they understand that the war has brought nothing but ruin and instability in the middle East and in other regions of the world?

It is these politicians, I would like to explain that terrorism is not a trump card in your pocket that you can take out and use whenever you wish, and then put them back. Terrorism, like a Scorpion, sting at any moment. Accordingly, you can't be for terrorism in Syria and against him in Mali. You cannot support terrorism in Chechnya and fight it in Afghanistan.

I will clarify, not saying this about all leaders, and the heads of some Western countries. They might as well cease to climb in Affairs of other countries, creating their own puppet regimes, and to listen to their people, maybe then will Western policy closer to reality.

If you insist I addressed a message to the world, I say: if someone wants to turn Syria into a puppet of the West, then it won't. We are an independent state, and we will fight terrorism and we will freely build relationships with countries with which we ourselves wish, for the sake of the Syrian people.

- On Wednesday, the Syrian government has faced accusation from the side of the rebels in using chemical weapons. This accusation was immediately picked up by a number of Western leaders. What can you say about it? Will you let the UN special Commission to investigate this incident?

- Statements made by politicians in the USA, the West and other countries are an affront to common sense and disregard the public opinion of their peoples. This is nonsense: first charged, and only then collect evidence. And this deals with the most powerful country – the USA. That is, on Wednesday we were accused, and only two days later the U.S. government announced the beginning of gathering evidence. And how they intend to collect the evidence, being away? We are accused that the army used chemical weapons in an area that is allegedly under the control of the action. Actually, in this area there is no clear front line between the army and militants. And how can the state use chemical or any other weapons of mass destruction – in a place where concentrated his troops. This is contrary to elementary logic. Therefore, such accusations are only political, and the reason for them was the number of victories by government forces over the terrorists.

As for the investigation of war crimes in Syria, we are the first who demanded the arrival of an international Commission. When terrorists fired a rocket with a poisonous gas at Aleppo, soon after numerous statements in the West about the readiness of government forces to use chemical weapons, we requested the visit of foreign experts. This position was agreed with Russia, we wanted the US, France, Britain were convinced that it is not we but our opponents use chemical weapons. See for example facts and not unfounded accusations.

Over the past weeks we have been negotiating with the UN about the work of the Commission, finally, experts came to us (in a few hours after the interview, it became known that the Syrian authorities and the UN Commission agreed on a procedure for joint action to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons, approx. "Izvestia"). The results of their work will be presented to the UN.

But you also know that any results can be interpreted in favor of the individual countries. Therefore, we expect that Russia will not allow to interpret the documents in the interests of the American and General Western policy.

- Judging statements of the USA and other Western countries made in the last days, the Americans do not exclude the possibility of holding in Syria a military operation. You admit that the USA will act as acted in Iraq, trying to find a pretext for invasion?

- The question of military intervention in Syria rises is not the first time. From the beginning of the crisis, the United States, France and the UK tried to commit military intervention, but to their misfortune, things took a different turn. They tried to convince Russia and China to change its position in the UN Security Council, but it did not work.

They are unable to convince their people and the world that conduct their middle East policy is smart and useful. It was also found that the situation here is different from the situation in Egypt and Tunisia.

The same scenario of "Arab revolutions" has ceased to be convincing. They can start any war, but can't know how long it will last and how much territory will apply. They realized that their script was out of control .

Another obstacle to military intervention – understanding all that is happening in Syria is not a people's revolution and demand reforms. This is terrorism. In this situation, Western leaders can not tell its citizens: "We are going to Syria to support terrorism".

- Mr. President, what will face US if they dare to strike against Syria or even the invasion of the country?

- The U.S. is waiting for failure, as in all previous wars they waged, starting with Vietnam and up to our days. America participated in numerous wars, but never been able to achieve its political goals for which it was started these wars. She was not able to convince his multi-ethnic people in the righteousness of these wars, as well as to instill their ideology to other countries. Yes, indeed, great powers can wage wars but can they win?

Photo: Press service of the President of Syria Bashar al-Assad

- Do You maintain relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin? Do You communicate with him by phone? If so, what issues were discussed?

- President Vladimir Putin has long-standing relations, established long before the Syrian crisis. From time to time we contact him. Of course on the phone to discuss such complex issues as the Syrian crisis. The relations between our countries are now supported through the Russian officials who visit us, either through their Syrian counterparts, who are sent to Moscow.

- Are You planning to visit Russia in the near future or to invite the Russian President to the country?

It is certainly possible, but it seems to me that now it is necessary all efforts within the country to solve the Syrian crisis. Now every day we lose people, but when circumstances improve, then, of course, or I will pay a visit to President Putin, or invite him to Damascus.

- In continuation of the Russian theme. You know that Russia opposes U.S. policy and the EU on the Syrian issue. What will happen if Russia gives in to their pressure? You allow such a scenario?

- Today it is important to look at the Russian-American relations not only through the Syrian crisis, we need a broader view. The difference of positions on the Syrian crisis - just one of the differences between your country of contradictions. With the collapse of the USSR, the USA, it seemed that Russia destroyed forever. But in the late 90s with the advent of Vladimir Putin, Russia has gradually gain strength and insistently defend their positions. As a result started a new cold war for political influence. USA appeared on several fronts, persistently trying to block Russia's interests in the world.

The USA aims to diminish the role of Russia in the international arena, including through pressure on "the Syrian issue".

You can ask the question – "why Russia supports Syria"? And it is very important to explain this point. Russia today does not protect President Bashar al-Assad or the government, since the Syrian people can choose any President and any government.

Russia defends the principles that it follows, at least for 100 years: the principles of independence and non-interference in the internal Affairs of other States. Russia itself suffered from this.

In addition, Russia is defending its interests in the region and it is her right. These interests are not limited to Tartus port, for example. Her interests are much deeper, hitting the terrorists in Syria threaten stability throughout the middle East. Destabilization here will be reflected in Russia. Guide your country unlike many leaders of Western countries understand this.

As for cultural and social situation, we should not forget about thousands of Russian-Syrian families who create a cultural and social bridge between the two States. If Russia were traded, it would've happened a year or two ago, when the political situation was unclear. Today the picture became completely transparent for all. Who are not then traded, will be traded now.

- Are there any negotiations with Russia on supply of fuel, goods and weapons? I especially want to ask about the contract to supply s-300 systems – they are delivered to you?

- Of course, no country may declare the presence of certain weapons or signed contracts for their supply - this is part of the secrets of the state and the armed forces.

But I want to say that all contracts concluded with Russia run. And neither the crisis nor the pressure from the US, Europe and the Gulf countries have not prevented their implementation. Russia supplies Syria's what it takes to protect her, and protect her people.

Photo: Press service of the President of Syria Bashar al-Assad

- What help is waiting for Syria from Russia: economic or arms? Does Syria to ask for a loan from Russia?

- When the country's security is weakened, this leads to weakening and economic status. And the fact that Russia supplies Syria's military contracts will certainly lead to the improvement of the economic situation in Syria.

Russian support of our right to assert their own independence from the outset helped our economy. The number of States opposing the Syrian people, caused our economy serious damage, primarily due to the economic blockade, because of which we now suffer. Russia acted quite differently.

Political support of Russia, as well as precise execution of military contracts despite U.S. pressure significantly trimmed our economic situation.

And that directly relates to the economy – any loan from a friendly country such as Russia, is beneficial for both parties. For Russian it may mean expanding markets and new prospects for Russian companies as for Syria - it is an opportunity to raise funds for the development of its own economy.

Not to mention the already signed contracts with various Russian companies for the supply of various products.

I again assert that Russia's political position and its support for Syria's positive effect on the stability and prosperity of the Syrian citizens.

- You can specify the details of existing contracts: whether they relate to fuel or food?

Economic sanctions block today Syrian citizens receive food, medicine and fuel. These are the basic goods necessary for life. And, accordingly, that now makes the Syrian state through the signing of agreements with Russia and other friendly countries – allows for the provision of these products.

- Returning to the Syrian issue, we know that You repeatedly announced Amnesty. What are their results? Is there someone from among the amnestied rebels who are fighting in the ranks of the government forces?

- Yes, it's true – and Amnesty is producing positive results. Especially when the picture of what is happening in Syria has become clear to all.

Many of the militants laid down their arms and returned to normal life. Many of them moved to the side of the government. These groups are divided into two parts – the first was deceived by the press, the second – those who were forced under duress to go to the rebels because of terrorist threats. Therefore, we always believe that we should leave the gate open for those who decided to leave the road he was going against their homeland. While many in Syria were opposed to the Amnesty, it has paid for itself and was able to reduce tensions in society.

- Mr President, who would You consider your main allies and who enemies? Relations with Syria by some countries in recent collapse – with Qatar, with Turkey, with Saudi Arabia. Who is to blame?

- Countries who stand with us on the world stage - Russia and China, and at the regional level – is Iran. But I can tell the world that there is a positive change – some countries that were radically against us, began to change their positions, but you have to restore relations with Syria. And there are countries that support us directly.

There are a number of States that supported terrorists in Syria in the open, it's Qatar and Turkey.

Qatar – a sponsor of terrorists, and Turkey trains and provides corridors for them. Now Saudi Arabia replaced Qatar as a sponsor. Saudi Arabia – a state that only has money and someone who has just money cannot create a civilized society and maintain peace.

If Saudi Arabia plays the role of main sponsor, Turkey has a different position. It is a pity that such a state as Turkey, can be controlled with the help of a few dollars. Unfortunately, a huge country with strategic position and a progressive society is ruled by one of the Gulf States. For all of this is the Prime Minister of Turkey. There is no fault of the Turkish people with whom we share many customs and historical heritage.

- What's behind the common position of Russia and Syria – if only for geopolitical interests, or even the similarity of the two peoples who have to deal with an ongoing terrorist threat?

- Russian-Syrian relations have many points of contact. The first of them – Russia has experienced occupation during the second world war, and Syria was also occupied several times. Secondly, Russia, like Syria, have suffered from numerous attempts to interfere in its internal Affairs. The third is terrorism. In Syria we understand that means killing civilians hands of militants in the North Caucasus, remember about the hostage-taking in Beslan and the musical "Nord-OST" in Moscow. So the Russians understand what we have to deal with in Syria, because they themselves have experienced terrorism on itself. So, when it comes Western responsible person who says that there is a bad terrorist, and there are moderate terrorist – the Russians don't believe in it.

There is another similarity between Russia and Syria is a joint family, which I mentioned earlier. If it were not for the cultural-social and mental similarities, there would be these families that bind the two countries. Add to all this: there are geopolitical interests, which I also already said. Instability in Syria and the region as a whole will also affect Russia. She understands that does not understand Europe and the West – the threat of terrorism that has no boundaries. It would be wrong to think that the position of such a great country as Russia, is built on one or two principles.

- What do You expect from the conference "Geneva-2"?

- The mission of the Geneva conference – to pave the way for a political settlement in Syria. But we cannot start a dialogue on the political front, until they stop support for terrorism from abroad. What we expect from the Geneva talks is to put pressure on those countries that support terrorism in Syria. They must stop the smuggling of arms and sending mercenaries and terrorists to us. When will this step will be much easier to work on the organization of political dialogue between all Syrian parties on the future image of the state, legislation and the Constitution.



Tags: Syria

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