The following is the full text of the interview:

Question 1: Mr. President, thanks for giving Prensa Latina this historic opportunity of conveying your point of view to the rest of the world about the reality in Syria, because as you know, there is a lot of misinformation out there about your country, about the foreign aggression that is taking place against this beautiful country.

Mr. President, how would you evaluate the current military situation of the external aggression against Syria, and what are the main challenges of Syrian forces on the ground to fight anti-government groups? If it is possible, we would like to know your opinion about the battles or combats in Aleppo, in Homs.

Aleppo battle is the last card for the Turks, Qataris and Saudis

President Assad: Of course, there was a lot of support to the terrorists from around the world. We have more than one hundred nationalities participating in the aggression against Syria with the support of certain countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar with their money and Turkey with the logistical support, and of course with the endorsement and supervision of the Western countries, mainly the United States, France, and the UK, and some other allies. But since the Russians decided to intervene in supporting legally the Syrian Army in fighting the terrorists in Syria, mainly al-Nusra and ISIS and some other affiliated groups, the scales have been tipped against those terrorists, and the Syrian Army has made many advances in different areas in Syria. And we are still moving forward, and the Syrian Army is determined to destroy and to defeat those terrorists. You mentioned Homs and Aleppo. Of course, the situation in Homs, since the terrorists left Homs more than a year ago, the situation has been much, much better, more stable. You have some suburbs of the city which were infiltrated by terrorists. Now there is a process of reconciliation in those areas in which either the terrorists give up their armaments and go back to their normal life with amnesty from the government, or they can leave Homs to any other place within Syria, like what happened more than a year ago in the center of the city.

For Aleppo it is a different situation, because the Turks and their allies like the Saudis and Qataris lost most of their cards on the battlefields in Syria, so the last card for them, especially for Erdogan, is Aleppo. That is why he worked hard with the Saudis to send as much as they can of the terrorists – the estimation is more than 5,000 terrorists – to Aleppo.

 Question 2: Through the Turkish borders?

President Assad: Yes, from Turkey to Aleppo, during the last two months, in order to recapture the city of Aleppo, and that didn’t work. Actually, our army has been making advancement in Aleppo and the suburbs of Aleppo in order to encircle the terrorists, then, let’s say, either to negotiate their going back to their normal life as part of reconciliation, or for the terrorists to leave the city of Aleppo, or to be defeated. There’s no other solution.

Question 3: Thank you, thank you very much. Mr. President, which are the priorities of the Syrian Army in the confrontation with the terrorist groups? And we’re particularly interested, because in Cuba we had something similar in the past, in the role of the popular defense groups; what is the role that the popular defense groups are playing in the theater of operations?

Syrian army’s priority is to fight al-Qaeda-linked organizations of ISIS, al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Cham and Jaish al-Islam

President Assad:The priority of the Syrian Army, first of all, is to fight ISIS and al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Cham and Jaish al-Islam. These four organizations are directly linked to Al Qaeda through the ideology; they have the same ideology, they are Islamic extremist groups who want to kill anyone who doesn’t look or doesn’t feel or behave like them. But regarding what you called the popular militia groups, actually, at the beginning of the war, the terrorists started an unconventional war against our army, and our army is a traditional army, like any other army in the world, so the support of those popular defence groups was very important in order to defeat the terrorists in an unconventional way. That was very helpful to the Syrian Army, because those fighters, those national fighters, they fight in their regions, in their cities, in their villages, so they know the area very well, they know the region very well, I mean the pathways, the terrain, let’s say, very well. So, they can be very huge assets for the Syrian Army. That is their role.

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H.E President Bashar Al-Assad gave an interview to the US NBC News published Thursday, following is the full text:

Journalist: Mr. President, thank you for having us and allowing NBC News to ask you some important questions.

President Assad: You’re most welcome in Damascus.

Question 1: A few weeks ago, you told lawmakers here that you would retake every inch of Syria. The U.S. State Department called that “delusional.” You’re a long way from winning this war, aren’t you? Never mind retaking every inch of Syria.

President Assad: Actually, the Syrian Army has made a lot of advancement recently, and that is the goal of any army or any government. I don’t think the statement for the United States is relevant. It doesn’t reflect any respect to the international law, to the Charter of the United Nations. It doesn’t reflect respect of the sovereignty of a country that it had the right to take control of its full land.

Question 2: But how long do you think this will take you to win this war?

President Assad: You’re talking about something that is related to many factors. The most important factor is how long are the supporters of those terrorists are going to keep supporting them, especially Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, with the endorsement of some Western countries including the United States. If you don’t have that support, it won’t take more than a few months.

Question 3: More than a few months. You see, I’ve been here ten times, and I’ve heard your governors say “it will take a month to retake Homs, it will take six months to retake somewhere else.” It always takes longer than that. So, realistically, this will take years, won’t it?

President Assad: That’s why I said that depends on how much support the terrorists are going to have, how much recruitment are you going to have in Turkey with the Saudi money, to have more terrorists coming to Syria. Their aim is to prolong the war, so they can prolong it if they want, and they’ve already succeeded in that. So, that depends on the question. If you’re talking about how much it’s going to take as only a Syrian conflict, an isolated conflict, this is where it won’t take more than a few months. But if it’s not isolated, as is the case today with the interference of many regional and international powers, it will be going to take a long time, and no-one has the answer to the question you have posed. Nobody knows how the war is going to develop.

Question 4: A year ago, the war was going quite differently. You made a speech in which you said you were short of troops, you had to give up some areas reluctantly. What changed after that? Was it that Russia entered the war? That’s the real reason this war is turning, isn’t it? That Russia is on your side.

President Assad: Definitely, the Russian support of the Syrian Army has tipped the scales against the terrorists.

Question 5: It’s the crucial factor?

President Assad: It is, it is, definitely. At the same time, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have sent more troops since that Russian legal intervention started, but in spite of that, it was the crucial factor, as you just mentioned.

Question 6: So, you owe President Putin a lot.

President Assad: Everyone who stood beside us; Russians, Iranians, and even the Chinese stood, but each one in its own way, whether political, military, or economic, because it’s not one factor; you cannot only talk about the firepower or the human resources. It’s a multi-factor issue. All those countries supported Syria, beside other countries who supported to a lesser degree.

 Question 7: Has President Putin demanded anything of you? What’s the deal?

President Assad: When he wanted to intervene? He didn’t ask for anything.

Question 8: Nothing?

President Assad: For a simple reason: first of all, their politics are built on values. This is very important. The second thing, their interest is common interest with us now, because they are fighting the same terrorists that they should fight in Russia. We are fighting the terrorists that could be fighting in Europe, in the United States, anywhere else in the world. But the difference between President Putin and the other Western officials is that he could see that clearly while the other officials in Europe or in the West in general couldn’t see that. That’s why his intervention is based on values, and at the same time based on the interest of the Russian people.

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  DAMASCUS,(ST)_ H.E. President Bashar Al-Assad gave an interview to the Australian SBS TV channel. The following is the full text of the interview, as Published by the official News Agency (SANA):

Journalist: Mr. President, thank you for speaking with SBS Australia.

President Assad: You’re most welcome in Syria.

Question 1: It’s now more than five years since the Syrian crisis began. It’s estimated somewhere around a quarter of a million people have been killed, many of them civilians. There’s an undeniable humanitarian disaster. How far into the crisis do you think you are, and is there an end in sight?

President Assad: Of course, there is an end in sight, and the solution is very clear. It’s simple yet impossible. It’s simple because the solution is very clear, how to make dialogue between the Syrians about the political process, but at the same time fighting the terrorism and the terrorists in Syria. Without fighting terrorists, you cannot have any real solution. It’s impossible because the countries that supported those terrorists, whether Western or regional like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, don’t want to stop sending all kinds of support to those terrorists. So, if we start with stopping this logistical support, and as Syrians go to dialogue, talk about the constitution, about the future of Syria, about the future of the political system, the solution is very near, not far from reach.

Question 2: Much of the reporting in the West at the moment suggests that the demise of the Islamic State is imminent. Do you believe that’s true, and how far away from seizing Raqqa, this very important city of Raqqa, do you believe you are?

President Assad: It’s not a race. Raqqa is as important as Aleppo, as Damascus, as any other city. The danger of those terrorist groups is not about what land do they occupy, because it’s not a traditional war. It’s about how much of their ideology can they instill in the mind of the people in the area that they sit or live in. Indoctrination, this is the most dangerous thing. So, reaching Raqqa is not that difficult militarily, let’s say. It’s a matter of time. We are going in that direction. But the question when you talk about war is about what the other side, let’s say the enemy, could do, and that’s directly related to the effort of Turkey, especially Erdogan, in supporting those groups, because that’s what’s happening since the beginning. If you talk about Syria as an isolated military field, you can reach that area within a few months or a few weeks, let’s say, but without taking into consideration the Turkish effort in supporting the terrorists, any answer would be a far cry from the reality, an un-factual answer.

Question 3: Mr. President, how concerned are you about recent fatal clashes which have been reported between your longtime ally Hezbollah and your own forces?

There is good Syrian-Russian-Iranian coordination on fighting terrorism

President Assad:Fighting between us and Hezbollah? They are not fighting. They support the Syrian Army. They don’t fight against the Syrian Army, they fight with the Syrian Army. The Syrian Army and Hezbollah, with the support of the Russian Air Forces, we are fighting all kinds of terrorist groups, whether ISIS or al-Nusra or other affiliated groups with Al Qaeda that’s affiliated automatically to al-Nusra and ISIS.

Question 4: So, there have been some recent reports of clashes between… are those reports incorrect.

President Assad: No, they are talking not about clashes; about, let’s say, differences and different opinions. That’s not true, and if you look at the meeting that happened recently between the Ministers of Defense in Iran, in Tehran; Syrian, Russian, and Iranian, this means there’s good coordination regarding fighting terrorism.

Question 5: To be clear, do you categorize all opposition groups as terrorists?

President Assad: Definitely not, no. When you talk about an opposition group that adopts the political means, they’re not terrorists. Whenever you hold machineguns or any other armaments and you terrorize people and you attack civilians and you attack public and private properties, you are a terrorist. But if you talk about opposition, when you talk about opposition it must be Syrian opposition. It cannot be a surrogate opposition that works as a proxy to other countries like Saudi Arabia or any other country. It must be a Syrian opposition that’s related to its Syrian grassroots, like in your country. It’s the same, I think.

 Question 6: You said recently that the ceasefire offered Syrian people at least a glimmer of hope. How, five months on, do you think that hope is going?

President Assad: Yeah, it is. It’s still working, the ceasefire, but we don’t have to forget that terrorist groups violate this agreement, on a daily basis. But at the same time, we have the right, according to that agreement, to retaliate whenever the terrorists attack our government forces. So, actually you can say it’s still working in most of the areas, but in some areas it’s not.

Question 7: There are various accounts of how the Syrian crisis began. Some say it was children graffiting anti-government slogans and they were dealt with brutally by the government. I understand you don’t accept that narrative. How, in your view, did the crisis begin?

President Assad: It’s a mixture of many things. Some people demonstrated because they needed reform. We cannot deny this, we cannot say “no everybody was a terrorist” or “everyone was a mercenary.” But the majority of those demonstrators – I’m not talking about the genuine demonstrators – were paid by Qatar in order to demonstrate, then later they were paid by Qatar in order to revolt with armaments, and that’s how it started, actually. The story of children being attacked, this is an illusive story. It didn’t happen. Of course, you always have, let’s say, mistakes happening in the practice on the ground, like what happened in the United States recently, during the last year, but this is not a reason for people to hold machineguns and kill policemen and soldiers and so on.

Question 8: You do say that some of these people legitimately needed reform. Was that as a result of any heavy-handedness from your government at all?

President Assad: No, we had reform in Syria. It started mainly after 2000, in the year 2000. Some people think it was slow, some people think it was too fast, this is subjective, not objective, but we were moving in that regard. But the proof that it wasn’t about the reform, because we made all the requested reforms after the crisis started five years ago, and nothing has changed. So, it wasn’t about reform. We changed the constitution, we changed the laws that the opposition asked for, we changed many things, but nothing happened. So, it wasn’t about the reform; it was about money coming from Qatar, and most of the people that genuinely asked for reform at the beginning of the crisis, they don’t demonstrate now, they don’t go against the government, they cooperate with the government. They don’t believe, let’s say, in the political line of this government, and this is their right and that’s natural, but they don’t work against the government or against the state institutions. So, they distinguish themselves from the people who supported the terrorists.

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President Al-Assad to RIA Novosti and Sputnik: Syria is not prepared for federalism

President Bashar Al-Assad said that Syrian-Syrian dialogue in Geneva established the basic principles on which negotiations will be built, and that what was achieved in the first round is the beginning of setting a methodology for successful negotiations, SANA reported.

In an interview given to Russia’s RIA Novosti and Sputnik news agencies, President al-Assad said that political transition means moving from one constitution to another, and that this transitional period should continue under the present constitution, and then move to the next constitution after it is voted on by the Syrian people, adding that talking about a transitional body is illogical and unconstitutional.

His Excellency stressed that the Russian military support, the support of Syria’s friends, and the Syrian military achievements will all lead to accelerating the political solution and not the opposite, asserting that Syria is not prepared for federalism, and that there are no natural factors which might lead to federalism in it, adding “I don’t believe that if it was put to the vote, will be endorsed by the Syrian people.”

The President also said that terrorism in Syria and Iraq is supported by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and some Western countries like France and Britain, while other countries behave like bystanders and onlookers, affirming that the Western sanctions imposed on Syria are one of the causes of the emigration issue.

Following is the full text of the first part of the interview:

Question 1: A lot is being said about the Syrian refugees. The large majority of refugees in Europe present themselves as Syrians, even Pakistanis do so. According to German figures, 77% of them do not have identification documents. We want to understand how you assess the number of the refugees who were forced to leave the country and why they have fled the country, and the number of those displaced within Syria. We would like to get the figures right concerning this issue.

President Assad: Of course, there are no accurate figures about those who left Syria or were displaced inside Syria. There are approximate figures, because people move inside Syria without registering themselves as displaced people. They go to villages where they have relatives and live with friends’ families. Most of them come from areas where there are terrorists and move to areas controlled by the state, seeking safety. But I don’t believe that the problem is that of figures. The problem is that up till now, there is no serious action taken by many countries of the world to solve the problem of these people. They deal with the issue of emigration as if it only concerned the outside world. They want to receive them in some European countries, provide them with shelter and aid, and probably send some aid to those displaced inside Syria. This doesn’t solve the problem. The main problem is that of terrorism. That’s why we should fight terrorism on the international level, because terrorism is not related to Syria alone. It exists in Iraq, it is supported directly by Turkey, by the Saudi royal family, and some Western countries like France and Britain. Other countries behave like bystanders and onlookers. They don’t take any serious action. I believe that herein lies the problem, not in the figures themselves.

 Question 2: I am sure that you are waiting for Syrians to return to their country. But this will happen after reconstruction. Do you have any estimates of the size of destruction and damage done to Syria during recent years?

President Assad: Economic damage and that related to the infrastructure is over 200 billion dollars. Economic damage can be repaired immediately after things settle down in Syria. But the infrastructure takes a long time. We have started the process of reconstruction even before the crisis has ended in order to alleviate, as much as possible, the impact of the economic damage and the damage to the infrastructure on the Syrian citizen, and at the same time to reduce emigration. Those who would like to come back might do so when they see that there is hope that things will get better. Emigration is not caused only by terrorism and the security situation. It is also caused by the Western sanctions imposed on Syria. Many people emigrated from safe areas which have no terrorism because of the living conditions. People are no longer able to get their needs. That’s why we, as a state, should take actions, albeit initial ones, in order to improve the economic and services conditions in Syria. That is what we are doing concerning reconstruction.

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H.E. President Bashar Assad asserted that terrorists breached the cessation of hostilities agreement from the very first hour, while the Syrian Army has refrained from retaliating in order to give the chance for the agreement to survive.

President Al-Assad added in an interview given to ARD German television that every Syrian gunman should give up armament, and he shouldn’t bear weapon or hurt individuals or properties in order to return as a Syrian civilian and “we give him full amnesty.”

Following is the full text of the interview, as published by the official News Agency SANA:

Journalist:  Mr. President, thank you so much for granting us this interview on behalf of ARD German television.

President Assad:  You’re most welcome in Syria.

Question 1:  Yesterday, we were filming at the Omayyad Mosque, and we had some interviews with the people on the ceasefire.  There was one guy selling shawarma, and he said “maybe this is a historical day.”  So, my question, Mr. President is: would you agree that this was a historical day, and are we at a special time of Syrian history?

President Assad:  Let’s say I hope, rather than agree; because we agreed on the cessation of hostility, as we announced last week… let’s say it’s a glimmer of hope now, for the Syrians, for all of us.  But usually, when you have a ceasefire or cessation of hostilities or any such agreement, which is bilateral, it’s going to be difficult to keep and save, let alone when it’s multilateral.  When you talk about multilaterals, and when I say multilaterals you’re talking about more than one hundred factions of terrorists and so many other countries that support them.  Or let’s say you talk about two camps with contradicting goals regarding the cessation of hostilities or that agreement.  So, let’s say we hope, and we are going to do our job to make it work, but it’s not enough to have the good will.

Question 2:  What are you doing, you and the Syrian government, to make it stable, the ceasefire?

President Assad:  Actually, it started less than 48 hours ago; as you’ve been here for the last few days, I think you know that the terrorists breached the agreement from the very first hour.  As for the Syrian Army, we have refrained ourselves from retaliating in order to give the chance for the agreement to survive.  That’s what we can do, but at the end everything has a limit.  It depends on the other side.

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