DAMASCUS, (ST)_ If the European Countries want to help the Syrian People, they should first halt support to terrorists and lift the unjust embargo hitting the daily basics for the Syrians, underscored H.E. President Bashar Al-Assad.

Receiving a joint delegation, comprising MPs from the European Parliament and the Federal assembly of Russia, President Assad asserted that EU officials have to know that the solution in Syria is by the Syrian People.

President Assad pointed out that Western officials have to admit that the terrorist attacks in their countries are but a result for their wrong policies and have accordingly to ask themselves about whether the policies pursued by them are to or against the interests of their people.

 Regarding the fight against terrorism operation, H.E. President Assad added that this operation is being carried out through  the military track, which is going in a good form due to the Russian support, draining the financial resources which the terrorists can depend on as to recruit people to their ranks.

''Most importantly is also the know-how to deal terrorism as an ideology where the Wahabi thinking worldwide should be eliminated as to succeed in fighting terrorism,'' outlined President Assad.

"Russia through its backing to Syria does defend the security of the Syrians as much as defending the security of its people and of the Europeans too,"  highlighted President Assad.

In answers to questions by the members of the delegation, President Assad pointed out that  the delegation visit, given the delegation members as including several MPs from European Parties and from Russia, is an important signal that Russia and European Countries have shared interests, asserting the pivotal role played by Parliamentarians in expressing the interests of their people.

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H.E. President Bashar Al-Assad gave the following interview to RTP TV channel:

Question 1: Mr. President, let’s start with Aleppo if you don’t mind. There are still thousands of civilians trapped, trying to survive in a sort of sub-human conditions in the middle of a deluge of bombs. Why do you think that they refused to get out?

President Assad: The part that you mention in Aleppo, what they call it the eastern part, is occupied by the terrorists for the last three years, and they have been using the civilians as human shields. From our side, from our part as government, we have two missions: the first one is to fight those terrorists to liberate that area and the civilians from those terrorists, and at the same time to try to find a solution to evacuate that area from those terrorists if they accept, let’s say, what you call it reconciliation option, in which they either give up their armaments for amnesty, or they leave that area. The other thing we did as government is to open gates for the civilians to leave that area, and at the same time for the humanitarian convoys and help to go through those gates inside that part of Aleppo, but the terrorists publicly refused any solution, so they wanted to keep the situation as it is.

Question 2: But Mr. President, aren’t you using the jihadists to discredit all the oppositions at the eyes of the national and international public opinion, and in the end to try to wipe them all out?

President Assad:  we cannot do that for a very simple reason: because we’ve been dealing with this kind of terrorism since the fifties, since the Muslim Brotherhood came to Syria at that time, and we learned that lesson very well, especially in the eighties, that terrorists cannot be used as a political card, you cannot put it in your pocket, because it’s like a scorpion; it will bite you someday. So, we cannot use jihadists because it’s like shooting yourself in the foot. They’re going to be against you sooner or later. This is in a pragmatic way, but if you think as value, we wouldn’t do it. Using terrorism or jihadists or extremists for any political agenda is immoral.

Question 3: But Mr. President, the people, the civilians inside Aleppo, couldn’t we assume that they probably don’t trust the government, they don’t trust the army, that they just want democracy, dignity, freedom? Can you give that to them?

President Assad:  Let’s talk about this point, regarding the reality; since the beginning of the crisis, since the terrorists started to control some areas within Syria, the majority of the Syrian civilians left that areas to join the government areas, not vice versa. If the majority of the Syrians don’t trust the government, they should go the other way.

Let me tell you another example, which is a starker example. You were in Daraya, al-Muadamiya, a few days ago, when you came here, and the terrorists and militants who left that area to Idleb in the northern part of Syria to join their fellow terrorists, they left their families under the supervision of the government, and you can go and visit them now, if you want.

Question 4: Mr. President, I’ve been here first four years ago, and now. Are you winning the war, this war in Syria?

President Assad: We can say, you can win the war only when you restore stability in Syria. You cannot talk about winning the war as long as there’s killing and destruction on daily basis. That doesn’t mean we are losing the war; the army is making good advancement on daily basis against the terrorists. Of course, they still have the support of Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and some Western countries including the United States, but the only option that we have in that regard is to win. If you don’t win and the terrorists win, Syria wouldn’t exist anymore.

Question 5: But would you have done that also without Hezbollah, Iran, and Russia?

President Assad: They are here because they could offer very essential and important help, because the situation that we are facing now is not only about a few terrorists from within Syria; it’s like international war against Syria. Those terrorists have been supported by tens of foreign countries, so Syria alone wouldn’t be able to face this kind of war without the help of its friends. That’s why their existence and their support was very essential.

Question 6: Isn’t Mr. Putin your most important ally?

President Assad: Russia is very important, Iran is very important, Hezbollah is very important. All of them are important. Each one made important achievements against the terrorists in Syria, so it’s difficult to say who is more important than the other.

Journalist: But what’s the role of Russia in Syria nowadays?

President Assad: The most important part of their support is the aerial support, which is very essential, they have very strong firepower, and at the same time they are the main supply of our army for more than sixty years, so our army depends on the Russian support in different military domains.

Question 7: But are you free to decide the future of Syria, or are you dependent on Vladimir Putin’s strategies?

President Assad: No, first of all, we are fully free, not partially, fully free, in everything related to the future of Syria. Second, which is more important or as important as the first part or the first factor, that the Russians always base their policies on values, and these values are the sovereignty of other countries, the international law, respecting other people, other cultures, so they don’t interfere in whatever is related to the future of Syria or the Syrian people.

Question 8: But they have helped you quite a few times in the United Nations. They have vetoed a few resolutions condemning your government, and the Syrian Army. There are several reports regarding Syria for use of chemical weapons, human right abuses, war crimes. All of this in the framework of the United Nations.

President Assad: And many ask “what for?” I mean, what’s in return, what did they ask in return, that’s the question, actually, that’s the content of your question, because we heard it many times, whether in the media or directly. Actually, first of all, for their values, because in these values that I’m talking about, the value of international law, and they have their interest as well. I mean, fighting the terrorists in Syria is not only in the interest of Syria or the Syrian people; in the interest of the Middle East, of Europe itself – something that many officials in the West don’t see or don’t realize or don’t acknowledge – and in the interest of the Russian people, because they have been facing terrorists for decades now. So, the Russians are fighting for us, for the world, and for their self.

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President Bashar al-Assad asserted that military operations will not stop after liberating Aleppo city from terrorists, and that pauses only happen in an area in which terrorists say that they are prepared to hand in their weapons or leave the area.

In an interview given to Russia 24 and NTV channels that was broadcast on Wednesday, President al-Assad said that the recent attack by ISIS on Palmyra in large numbers and over a large area means that ISIS received direct support from states, and that the timing of this attack is linked to the battle of Aleppo, because they wanted to undermine the importance of liberating Aleppo and to to distract the Syrian Army and fragment its efforts in different directions, asserting that “as we liberated Palmyra in the past, we will liberate it again.”

His Excellency said that the Americans are treacherous, and when their plans fail, they create chaos and then manage the chaos in a manner which enables them to blackmail the different parties, adding that Washington tried to promote the idea that there is something called “moderate opposition” or “moderate fighters,” but they failed in doing that because the facts on the ground proved that all those they support are extremists, whether they belong to al-Nusra, ISIS, or other organizations with the same extremist and terrorist ideology.

President al-Assad said that reconstruction is a huge and very useful economy for any country in the post-war stage, and that Syria has very large material capabilities in the private sector, both in Syria or in the countries of expatriation or among businessmen who emigrated during the crisis, stressing that most of those will return to rebuild their country, and consequently economic movement will start, affirming that there isn’t a great concern in this regard, adding that the Syrian people will not accept any company coming from any state that took a hostile position towards Syria or towards the integrity of Syrian territory or a state that supported terrorists.

Following is the full text of the interview according to SANA:

Question 1: Mr. President, thank you very much for availing us of this opportunity in order to know your perspective of what’s happening in Syria now, and how the situation would be in the future. I believe that it’s very important for our Russian audience to know what’s going on outside our country. Let’s start with the success you have achieved in Aleppo, which is really an important achievement and gives you significant power. But, what will happen after Aleppo? Are you going to move towards Idleb or al-Raqqa, or are you going to stop a little in order to strengthen your position, or reframe your conditions – based on your current strength – in order to reach an understanding with other powers, like the American alliance?

President Assad:  All the things you mentioned go in parallel: we liberate a certain area of the terrorists, and then strengthen our positions in that area, taking precautions against any counterattack by the terrorists from any direction, particularly that they receive support from a number of countries. At the same time, and in parallel with military operations, we provide opportunities on a daily basis both for civilians to leave the terrorist-controlled areas and an exit to terrorists themselves if they want to leave the area with their light weapons or hand themselves over to the state and receive an amnesty in return. As to Aleppo, liberating the city is of course important, but before we talk about the other areas, we need to fortify the city from the outside, in the sense of cleaning the areas surrounding it of terrorists. So far, the areas in which the terrorists are ensconced are about a few square kilometers, but terrorists outside the city are still shelling it with rockets and mortars on a daily basis. Two days ago, a number of people fell martyrs and dozens were wounded in Aleppo. So, liberating Aleppo doesn’t end with liberating the city itself, for it needs to be secured on the outside. Afterwards, identifying which city comes next depends on which city contains the largest number of terrorists and which city provides other countries the opportunity to support them logistically. Currently, there are direct links between Aleppo and Idleb because of the presence of Jabhat al-Nusra inside and on the outskirts of Aleppo and in Idleb. But the final answer to this must be after the liberation of the city, first, and through discussions with the Russian leadership which takes part in these battles with us, and also with the Iranian leadership.

Question 2: But when this operation is over, you no doubt have future plans. Will you stop and start negotiations? Or will you move forward in order not to give terrorists any opportunity?

President Assad: There will be no pause, because this only happens in an area in which terrorists say that they are prepared to hand in their weapons or leave the area. Only then, military operations stop. Operations do not stop during negotiations, because we do not trust the terrorists, because they often say something and do the opposite. They used to ask for ceasefires only to strengthen their positions and obtain supplies consisting of weapons, ammunition, etc. That’s why we do not allow that. Only when we agree to something specific, we do that.

Question 3: You announced an amnesty which covers all the militants who stop fighting and hand in their weapons. Do you have any assurances that these militants will not arm themselves again or form other armed groups?

President Assad:  No, we do not have any assurances. Based on our experience during the past three years, since we began these measures: reconciliations and granting amnesty to militants, we can say that the large majority of them went back to their normal lives. Even more, some of them have fought with the Syrian Army, for some have joined the army officially and some fought with it as civilians. Some of them actually fell martyrs. We cannot say that there is one category which includes all these people, but the largest majority have embraced the state. That’s why we are carrying on in this direction as long as the gains are much larger than the losses.

Question 4: Today, the situation in Palmyra is difficult. Reports say that you have been able to get 80% of the population out before the attack. But what about those who remained in the city? What is their fate? And how could terrorists have been sent from Mosul in Iraq and Deir Ezzor, such a huge and strong group like this, to Palmyra? How did that happen? Did they come on their own or were they helped?

President Assad: Let’s be clearer and more transparent on this point. We cannot link the Palmyra issue only with Mosul, because ISIS exists in Syria, in al-Raqqa in the north, where the American alliance is supposed to have been shelling ISIS for the past two years, which is not true. ISIS is there in Deir Ezzor where the American forces and warplanes, together with the alliance, have shelled Syrian forces instead of ISIS. Our real perception of the latest ISIS attack a few days ago on Palmyra in large numbers of fighters, with sophisticated weapons which ISIS did not have before, and in an area which exceeds tens of kilometers, means that ISIS received direct support from states. It’s not the case that ISIS just came from Mosul. How could they bring heavy artillery from Mosul? What have American warplanes in Mosul or al-Raqqa been doing? The fact is that the large majority of those came from al-Raqqa and Deir Ezzor, either through direct American support, or at best the Americans knew but turned a blind eye and left the implementation of the operation, in terms of funding and support, to Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. This is the reality of what’s happening in Palmyra today, and it is not only linked to Mosul.

Question 5: There are many oil and gas resources surrounding Palmyra, and it is very important for the state. Now, government forces no longer control it, and ISIS will derive again material support from these resources.

President Assad: Exactly. That’s true. Battles are still going on in that vital area. The importance of Palmyra might spring in the first instance from its symbolism as a historical and archeological city. But the areas surrounding it have other interests for the Syrian state and the Syrian people. That’s why the battles are ongoing and haven’t stopped up till now.

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 DAMASCUS, (ST)_ the decision as to liberate all of Syria has been taken since the beginning, including the liberation of Aleppo; we have never thought for a single day about leaving and region without liberation, underlined H.E. President Bashar Al-Assad.

In excerpts of an interview with the Syrian Al-Watan Daily, published Wednesday night by SANA, President Al-Assad pointed out that the developments of fighting operations against terrorism last year led to the military results witnessed recently.

The liberation of the Eastern region of Aleppo comes not within the political framework, but within the course of the normal military actions.

The liberation of Aleppo from terrorists means that no real cards would remain in the hands of the terrorists or in hands of the states supporting the terrorists, H.E. President Al-Assad underlined.

H.E. President Al-Assad asserted that to achieve victory in Damascus or in Aleppo is ,from a military perspective, to achieve a big political and military achievement, because both are important cities from the political and economic status.  

The Americans insist on calling for a truce, because their agents of terrorists are in a difficult position, President Al-Assad noted, so we hear the cries, wailings and begging for truce, in addition to the talk about humanitarian aspects.

In reply to a question about relations with Russia, H.E. President Al-Assad added that we want to bolster these relations and we before and after the crisis call for Russian investments in Syria, citing the basis of principles in the politics of Russia.

The war against terrorism is not only a war for Syria; it is indeed a war for Russia, the region, Europe and for the entire world in general, declared H.E. President Al-Assad.

We seek relations with all world countries, including the Western, reiterated H.E. President Al-Assad, criticizing the hypocrisy and bias of some Western countries.

In reply to another question, President Al-Assad expressed the hope that the wise in Turkey would be able to make Erdogan backtrack on his recklessness and foolishness regarding the Syrian subject as to evade confrontations and we should work for this.

Following is the full text of the interview according to SANA:

Question: Mr. President, can we start with Aleppo? The army is advancing quickly in the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo. But there are American and international efforts, and there are also negotiations with Russia in order to stop fighting completely in these areas. Has the decision to liberate Aleppo completely been taken?

President Assad:  The decision to liberate the whole of Syria, including Aleppo, was taken right at the beginning. We have never thought of leaving any area unliberated. But the developments of military actions during the last year led to these military results which we have seen recently, i.e. liberating the eastern part of Aleppo recently doesn’t come in a political framework, but rather in the context of normal military operations.

Question: Why this international panic and concern for the militants in the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo, although most of them belong to al-Nusra, which is listed as a terrorist organization?

President Assad: There are a number of reasons. First, after the failure of the battle, or battles, for Damascus in the first years of the crisis, and later the failure of the battles for Homs, which was supposed to be a stronghold for the fake or supposed revolution, they moved to Aleppo as their last hope. The advantage that Aleppo enjoys for the terrorists and their supporters is that it is close to Turkey, and consequently logistic supplies to Aleppo are much easier from all aspects. So, they concentrated on Aleppo during the last two years, and that’s why liberating Aleppo from the terrorists deals a blow to the whole foundation of the project, Damascus, Homs, and Aleppo. That way the terrorists and the countries supporting them are deprived of any real cards.

 Question: This leads us to the question about the statement: “the winner in the battle of Aleppo wins the war in Syria.” This has been promoted often by the Turks and the Americans. Is that statement true?

President Assad: From a military perspective, let’s say it is true, because Damascus and Aleppo are the two most important cities, so the party which wins Damascus or Aleppo militarily makes a significant political and military achievement since they are politically and economically important. That is in the strategic sense. But since the Turkish project is based on Aleppo, this gives it special importance. We all know today that all Western and regional states rely on Turkey in implementing their incendiary and destructive project in Syria and in supporting the terrorists. Because Turkey has thrown all its weight, and Erdogan laid all his bets on Aleppo, the failure of their battle in Aleppo means a total transformation of the course of the war throughout Syria, and consequently the collapse of the outside project, be it regional or Western. For that reason, it is true that the battle of Aleppo will be a gain, but to be realistic, it doesn’t mean the end of the war in Syria. It is a significant landmark towards the end of the battle, but the war in Syria will not end until terrorism is eliminated. Terrorists are there in other areas; so even if we finish in Aleppo, we will carry on with the war against them.

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H.E. President Bashar Al-Assad gave the following interview to RTP TV channel:

Question 1: Mr. President, let’s start with Aleppo if you don’t mind. There are still thousands of civilians trapped, trying to survive in a sort of sub-human conditions in the middle of a deluge of bombs. Why do you think that they refused to get out?

 

President Assad: The part that you mention in Aleppo, what they call it the eastern part, is occupied by the terrorists for the last three years, and they have been using the civilians as human shields. From our side, from our part as government, we have two missions: the first one is to fight those terrorists to liberate that area and the civilians from those terrorists, and at the same time to try to find a solution to evacuate that area from those terrorists if they accept, let’s say, what you call it reconciliation option, in which they either give up their armaments for amnesty, or they leave that area. The other thing we did as government is to open gates for the civilians to leave that area, and at the same time for the humanitarian convoys and help to go through those gates inside that part of Aleppo, but the terrorists publicly refused any solution, so they wanted to keep the situation as it is.

Question 2: But Mr. President, aren’t you using the jihadists to discredit all the oppositions at the eyes of the national and international public opinion, and in the end to try to wipe them all out?

President Assad: No, we cannot do that for a very simple reason: because we’ve been dealing with this kind of terrorism since the fifties, since the Muslim Brotherhood came to Syria at that time, and we learned that lesson very well, especially in the eighties, that terrorists cannot be used as a political card, you cannot put it in your pocket, because it’s like a scorpion; it will bite you someday. So, we cannot use jihadists because it’s like shooting yourself in the foot. They’re going to be against you sooner or later. This is in a pragmatic way, but if you think as value, we wouldn’t do it. Using terrorism or jihadists or extremists for any political agenda is immoral.

 Question 3: But Mr. President, the people, the civilians inside Aleppo, couldn’t we assume that they probably don’t trust the government, they don’t trust the army, that they just want democracy, dignity, freedom? Can you give that to them?

President Assad: Let’s talk about this point, regarding the reality; since the beginning of the crisis, since the terrorists started to control some areas within Syria, the majority of the Syrian civilians left that areas to join the government areas, not vice versa. If the majority of the Syrians don’t trust the government, they should go the other way.

Let me tell you another example, which is a starker example. You were in Daraya, al-Muadamiya, a few days ago, when you came here, and the terrorists and militants who left that area to Idleb in the northern part of Syria to join their fellow terrorists, they left their families under the supervision of the government, and you can go and visit them now, if you want.

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