Indonesian Diplomat to ST: Situation in Syria Getting Better After Syrian Army Liberated Wide Areas from Terrorism

The ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia in Damascus Djoko Harjanto has said that his country, which experienced the agony of terrorism, has supported Syria in its war against terrorism over the past seven years and it will take part in rebuilding infrastructures in the country.

In an interview with the Syriatimes e-newspaper, the Indonesian diplomat, who has been in Damascus over the past four years, gave details about how his country supported Syria and how he himself played a key role in explaining the reality of events in Syria before the public opinion in Indonesia.

 “Since the start of the crisis in Syria, Indonesia has participated in many international forums and conferences held about Syria in Tunis, Turkey, Paris, Abu Dhabi, Washington Dc and Berlin. Indonesia also sent 11 personal in the peace observation mission in Syria. It also offered humanitarian aid – through UN- worth $ 500.000 plus 2 ambulances,” he said, asserting that the political relations between Syria and Indonesia are strong and that he is working on developing cultural and economic relations between the two countries.

The diplomat indicated that two years ago he himself and  the Syrian scholar Sheikh Tawfiq Ramadan al-participated in several meetings in Jakarta and Yogyakarta, central Java in order to explain to the Indonesian people the reality of events in Syria.

This step was fruitful as it caused change in the Indonesian people’s understanding of events happening in Syria, according to Harjanto, who made it clear that the public opinion in Indonesia is influenced by the western media reports that circulate fake and fabricated reports about Syria.

Indonesia has not closed its embassy in Syria since the beginning of the crisis in the country in 2011. It has repeatedly stressed its support for the efforts of the Syrian government in fighting terrorism.  

“There are still 2700 Indonesians living in Damascus, Tartous, Hama, Lattakia and Aleppo, 21of them are the staff of the Embassy and 25 students in the Ahmad Kaftaro Campus and the rest working in domestic areas.” the ambassador said, pointing out that the situation in Syria is getting better due to the liberation of many areas in the country from terrorist groups by Syrian army.

“Terrorism poses a threat to every country and every people, and Indonesia has a long history with terrorism. Among others, the 2002 Bali bombings, occurred on 12 October 2002 in the tourist district of Kuta on the Indonesian island of Bali, left 202 people dead and more than 200 others injured, but the Indonesian security forces have succeeded in capturing the perpetrators and prosecuting them” Harjanto asserted, indicating that the Indonesian preamble of the constitution says: "freedom is inalienable right of all nations and therefore colonialism must be abolished in this word as it is not in conformity with humanity and justice.” that is the response to the intervention of certain countries to the other sovereign countries, he added.

Political solution

He underscored the need to reach a political solution to the crisis in Syria through:

  • The international community should encourage ceasefire and cessation of violence.
  • The international community should mobilize and facilitate the access of humanitarian aid to Syrians both in Syria and refugee camps.
  • The international community should encourage the inclusion of an inclusive political process, respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and reflecting the wishes of all elements of the Syrian society.

Moreover, the diplomat, who travels everywhere in Syria, said that he is closely following the developments in the eastern Ghouta of Damascus and in all areas, affirming that a lot of areas can be stabilized.

“I have visited Aleppo, Hama, Homs,  Tartus, Sweidah, Maaloula, Zabadani and other areas in Syria and I met governors there,” the diplomat said, stressing that Indonesia will take part in the reconstruction process in Syria.

He went on to say: “ As for reconstruction process, I can say that we have the honor to participate in this process, which is a long process. We always attend events about this process not only in Damascus but also in Beirut. I invited our basic international company in Indonesia, WijayaKaryaTbk (Wika), that is involved in engineering and construction work in both Indonesia as well as abroad, to take part in Syria reconstruction. The businesses of this company include civil engineering, building, construction and construction of industrial plants as well as energy facilities.”

It is worth mentioning that Syria was the second country that recognized the independence of Indonesia in 1945.

Interviewed by: Basma Qaddour