President Assad's Russian RIA Novosti and Sputnik Interview, April 21, 2017

Question 1: Thank you, Mr. President, for giving an opportunity for this interview, and I will start with the recent tragic event in Aleppo, where the majority of those killed and wounded were children. Who do you think organized this crime, and on what purpose?

President Assad:  A few months ago, the same agreement was about to be implemented, but as you know, you’re talking about different factions, all of them are linked to Al Qaeda or al-Nusra Front, and one of those factions attacked the buses that wanted to transport the same civilians outside of al-Foua’a and Kefraya beside Aleppo, and they attacked those buses and they burned them, and it was shown on the internet, where they said “we won’t allow this reconciliation to happen, we’re going to kill every civilian that wants to use the buses,” and that’s what happened. When we thought that everything is ready to implement that reconciliation, they did what they announced, and they are al-Nusra Front, they didn’t hide themselves from the very beginning, and I think everybody agrees that this is al-Nusra.

Question 2: Any specific group or al-Nusra itself?

President Assad: No, because when you talk about al-Nusra, it’s their ideology, so different names – and as you know al-Nusra itself changed its name – so different names doesn’t mean changing the ideology or the behavior or the course of killing. So, it doesn’t matter what’s the name.

Question 3: And how many people have died since the beginning of the war, at this point?

President Assad:  Actually, we can talk only about official numbers. It’s tens of thousands, not like what you hear in the media about hundreds of thousands. Of course, we can talk about thousands of missing people that we don’t know anything about their fate. This is the official number. But in the West, of course they add altogether the number of the terrorists, and a large amount of the terrorists of course they’re not registered at the state as killed or dead, and the same thing about the foreigners who came to Syria in tens or maybe hundreds of thousands to fight. So, the numbers that we’ve been hearing in the Western media during the last six years were not precise, it’s only to inflate the number just to show how horrible the situation, to use it as humanitarian pretext to intervene in Syria. So, as a state, we only talk about tens of thousands of victims till this moment.

Question 4: So, you’re not agreeing with the number that the United Nations give?

President Assad: No, because the United Nations doesn’t have any means to calculate the numbers, and actually no-one has, as I said, because you’re talking about different factions; foreigners, Syrians and terrorists and so on, so it’s complicated to tell. The only thing that we have are the official records. Of course, it must be higher than the official record, but we cannot just estimate and give any number.

President Assad's AFP Interview, April 13, 2017

 President Assad's AFP Interview, April 13, 2017 

Following is the full text of the interview;

Question 1: Mr. President, first I want to thank you very much to receive me for an interview. Mr. President, did you give an order to strike Khan Sheikhoun with chemical weapons last Tuesday?

President Assad: Actually, no-one has investigated what happened that day in Khan Sheikhoun till the moment. As you know, Khan Sheikhoun is under the control of al-Nusra Front, which is a branch of Al Qaeda, so the only information the world have had till this moment is published by Al Qaeda branch. No-one has any other information. We don’t know if the whole pictures or videos that we’ve been seeing are true or fabricated. That’s why we asked for investigation to what happened in Khan Sheikhoun. This is first.

Second, Al Qaeda sources said that the attack happened at 6, 6:30 in the morning, while the Syrian attack in the same area was around noon, between 11:30 to 12. So, they’re talking about two different stories or events. So, there was no order to make any attack, we don’t have any chemical weapons, we gave up our arsenal a few years ago. Even if we have them, we wouldn’t use them, and we have never used our chemical arsenal in our history.

Question 2: So what happened this day?

President Assad: As I said, the only source is Al Qaeda, we cannot take it seriously. But our impression is that the West, mainly the United States, is hand in glove with the terrorists. They fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack, It wasn’t an attack because of what happened in khan Sheikhoun. It’s one event, its stage one is the play that we saw on the social networking and on TVs, and the propaganda, and the stage two is the military attack. That’s what we believe is happening because it’s only few days – two days, 48 hours – between the play and the attacks, and no investigations, no concrete evidence about anything, the only thing were allegations and propaganda, and then strike.

Question 3: So, who according to you is responsible about this alleged chemical attack?

President Assad:  The allegation itself was by Al Qaeda, al-Nusra Front, so we don’t have to investigate who, they announced it, it’s under their control, no-one else. About the attack, as I said, it’s not clear whether it happened or not, because how can you verify a video? You have a lot of fake videos now, and you have the proof that those videos were fake, like the White Helmets for example, they are Al Qaeda, they are al-Nusra Front who shaved their beards, wore white hats, and appeared as humanitarian heroes, which is not the case. The same people were killing Syrian soldiers, and you have the proof on the internet anyway. So, the same thing for that chemical attack, we don’t know whether those dead children were killed in Khan Sheikhoun? Were they dead at all? Who committed the attack if there was an attack? What’s the material? You have no information at all, nothing at all, no-one investigated.

President Assad's Croatian Newspaper Vecernji Interview, April 6, 2017

 H.E. President Bashar Al-Assad gave an interview to Croatian newspaper Vecernji List published Thursday, April 6, 2017. The 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.

President Assad's Statements to Russian Media, March 20, 2017.

 Question 1: Mr. President, are you familiar with the Russian proposal to create a commission on research of a new constitution? What do you think about it?

President Assad: Yesterday, I think, our representative in the United Nations, Mr. Jaafari, announced that we support the Russian initiatives – different initiatives, not only this one – as headlines, and now we are discussing with the Russians the details. The problem is that we went to Astana recently, as you know, the other delegation, the delegation of the militants, didn’t join that meeting, they didn’t go to Astana, and we all believe that this is the negative influence of the Turks. So, how can we start something concrete if you don’t have a partner? So, we said we are ready to discuss anything including the constitution, but we need to see who’s going to be in Geneva, are they going to discuss the same paper or not? But for us, as a government, our position is very clear: that we are ready to discuss it in details, but we support the headline, of course.

Question 2: Mr. President, there are reports that the United States-led coalition are planning to start the operation in Raqqa in the beginning of April. Do you have confirmation on that, and if Raqqa is liberated, will it be under control of Damascus, or are there any other agreements on that? And is the American troops’ presence in Syria legal?

President Assad: Any military operation in Syria without the approval of the Syrian government is illegal, and I said if there’s any troops on the Syrian soil, this is an invasion, whether to liberate al-Raqqa or any other place. This is first. Second, we all know that the coalition has never been serious about fighting ISIS or the terrorists, so we have to think about the real intention of the whole plan, if there’s a plan to liberate al-Raqqa. To liberate it from who? From ISIS? To give it to who? So, their plan is not to fight terrorists, not to help the Syrian government, it’s not for the unity of Syria, it’s not for the sovereignty of Syria, it must be something else not of these factors that I just mentioned, but all that we have till this moment are only information, we don’t have any fact on the ground regarding this.

President Assad's Statements to EU Media Outlets, March 13, 2017

 Question 1: Mr. President, yesterday in Damascus, another attack. The situation in Syria is still dangerous. Then, what do you think about the word of Netanyahu about the role of Iran here in Syria, and if you have your opinion about Donald Trump?

President Assad: You’re talking about different aspects of the problem, which is very complicated because of the external intervention. When you talk about the terrorists in Syria, terrorist attacks like what happened yesterday in Damascus, that’s been happening maybe on daily basis, if not hourly basis in some cases. As long as you have terrorists anywhere in Syria, every Syrian citizen is in danger, this is for sure. The question here: who supports those terrorists? And that’s what I would like to raise as a question for the European officials that went in the wrong way since the beginning of the crisis in Syria and led to the destruction of Syria and prevailing of terrorism in the region, that led to terrorist attacks in many European countries and the refugee crisis. Now, if you want to talk about the European role, or the Western role, because it’s been led by the Americans, the only role is to support the terrorists until the moment. They didn’t support any political process, they only talk about political process, but there’s no real commitment to any political action till that moment. While if you talk about the role of Iran, it’s completely different. They support Syria in fighting terrorists, they support Syria politically, in the regional and international political arenas. Israel from the other side supporting directly the terrorists, whether logistically or through direct raids on our army in the neighboring area.

Question 2: My question is: if you would describe from your point of view the nature of relation between Russia and Syria at the moment, because in the media, in the world press, it is described in a wide range, from fruitful cooperation to colonization even. So, what are they doing here?

President Assad: Let’s talk about the reality, about the facts; since the Russians started their raids against ISIS in cooperation with the Syrian Army – of course after we asked them to come and support us in our fight against the terrorists – ISIS has been shrinking. Before that, there was what they called American alliance or the Western alliance against ISIS, which is a cosmetic alliance, ISIS was expanding. So, they started talking about the Russian role in that negative way only after they started succeeding on the ground. But first of all, in reality, Russia succeeded with the Syrian Army in fighting the terrorists, and the recapture of Aleppo and Palmyra recently and many other areas is the concrete evidence, so we don’t have to talk about opinions; it’s a fact.

Regarding the political relation with the government, since the beginning of this – not only intervention; the support, before sending their troops to Syria, I’m talking about the beginning of the war six years ago – since that time, every political step and later military step that has been taken regarding the Syrian issue was in consultation with the Syrian government. This is their policy, and this is their behavior. Their policy and their relation with Syria are based on two things: first of all, the sovereignty of Syria, which is part of the Charter of the United Nations, and the sovereignty of any country. The second one is on morals, based on morals, that’s why there’s no colonization, there’s relation that goes back to more than six decades between Syria and Russia, and it has always been like that in different circumstances.