President Assad Interview with Belgian Media

 DAMASCUS, (ST)_ H.E. President Bashar Al-Assad answered scores of questions raised by Belgian media means accompanying the visiting Belgian Parliamentarian Delegation, chaired by MP Filip Dewinter, February 6, 2017:

Question 1: Mr. President, we’ve been to Aleppo, we’ve seen the destruction, how do you see the way forward to peace nowadays after Astana?

President Assad: If you want to talk about how to see the peace, it’s not related mainly to Astana; it’s related to something much bigger: how can we stop the flowing of the terrorists toward Syria, or in Syria, how can we stop the support from regional countries like Turkey, Gulf states, or from Europe like France and UK, or from the US during the Obama administration. If we deal with that title, this is where you can talk about the rest, about the political procedure. Astana is one of the initiatives during this war on Syria, and it’s about the dialogue between the Syrians. Now it’s too early to judge Astana, the first one was positive because it was about the principles of the unity of Syria, about the Syrians deciding their future. How can you implement this communique? That’s the question, and I think we are going to see Astana 2 and so on. So, the peace is two things: fighting terrorists and terrorism, stopping the flowing of terrorism, every kind of logistical support. Second, dialogue between the Syrians to decide the future of their country and the whole political system. These are the headlines about how we see the future of Syria.

Question 2: We have seen many breaches in the ceasefire, would you consider the ceasefire is still upholding, or is it dead?

President Assad: No, it’s not dead, and it’s natural in every ceasefire anywhere in the world, in every war, in any conflict, to have these breaches. It could be sometimes on individual levels, it doesn’t mean there’s policy of breaching the ceasefire by the government or by any other party, and this is something we can deal with on daily basis, and sometimes on hourly basis, but till this moment, no, the ceasefire is holding.

Question 3: In the fight against terror group Daesh, do you think all means are justified?

President Assad: Depends on what do we mean by “all means,” you have to be…

Journalist: Literally all means.

President Assad: Yeah, but I don’t know what the means that are available to tell you yes or “all means,” so I don’t what the “all means” are. But if you want to talk about military means, yes of course, because the terrorists are attacking the people – I’m not only talking about ISIS; ISIS and al-Nusra and all the Al Qaeda-affiliated groups within Syria – when they are attacking civilians, and killing civilians, and beheading people, and destroying properties, private and public, and destroying the infrastructure, everything in this country, let’s say, our constitutional duty and legal duty as government and as army and as state institutions is to defend the Syrian people. It’s not an opinion; it’s a duty. So, regarding this, you can use every mean in order to defend the Syrian people.

Question 4: But we have seen the destruction in Aleppo, you have seen the images as well. Was there no other way to do it?

President Assad: Actually, since the beginning of the crisis, of the war on Syria, we used every possible way. We didn’t leave any stone unturned in order to bring people to the negotiating table, but when you talk about the terrorists, when you talk about terrorists, when you talk about Al Qaeda, when you talk about al-Nusra and ISIS, I don’t think anyone in this world would believe that they are ready for dialogue, and they always say they’re not; they have their own ideology, they have their own way path, they don’t accept anything that could be related to civil state or civil country, they don’t, and I think you know as a European about this reality. So, no, making dialogue with al-Nusra and Al Qaeda is not one of the means, but if somebody wanted to change his course on the individual levels, we are ready to accept him as a government, and give him amnesty when he goes back to the normal life and gives up his armament.

President Assad's Interview with Japanese TBS TV, January 20, 2017.

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

Question 1:  Thank you Mr. President, thank you for availing us of this opportunity to know your perspective of what is happening in Syria, and the future of this country. First of all, I have one question: now that the Astana talk nears, what do you seek and expect from this conference?

President Assad: First of all, you’re most welcome in Damascus, and I am glad to speak to the Japanese audience for the first time during this war on Syria. We don’t have expectations, let’s say, we have hopes from Astana, that it’s going to be a podium for talks between different Syrian parties regarding everything, but I think it’s going to focus more at the very beginning – it’s going to be the priority, as we see it – is about the ceasefire in different places in Syria in order to protect lives, to allow the humanitarian aid to reach different areas in Syria. It’s not clear yet whether this meeting is going to be about any political dialogue, because it’s not clear who’s going to participate in it. So far, it’s about talking between the government and the terrorist groups in order to make ceasefire and to allow those terrorist groups to join the reconciliations in Syria, which means giving up your armaments and having amnesty from the government. This is the only thing that we can expect in the meantime.

Question 2: And do you accept the formation of transitional government to be discussed in this conference?

President Assad:  Anything that will be discussed should be based on the constitution, because it’s not about the government and the opposition or the government and the terrorist groups; it’s about every Syrian citizen who has the right to define the future of Syria. So, in our constitution there’s nothing called transitional government. You can have regular government that represents different parties and different political entities in Syria. This is our proposition. So, yes, if anybody wants to join this government, what we call it national unity government, this is viable for every party outside or inside Syria, and after that government, you can talk about, let’s say, legislative elections or parliamentarian elections, that would be followed by another government later, which is based on the results of the elections.

Question 3: New United States President Mr. Donald Trump is going to be inaugurated soon. What do you expect of Mr. Trump, and what kind of policy change do you expect from this?

President Assad: As you know, he’s one of few American presidents that weren’t in politics before. Most of the previous presidents, they used to have certain kinds of political jobs or positions. This one is not so. If you read different media, even the American media, they look at him as unpredictable, because they know little about his vision. The only thing that we have that we can base our judgment upon is his rhetoric during the campaign, and if you want to pick up the thing that we can say that it’s good in those rhetorics is our priority today, which is fighting the terrorism, and that’s what he said, President Trump, he said that his priority is to fight ISIS. Of course, ISIS is one of the aspects of terrorism, one of the organizations; when you talk about ISIS you have to talk about al-Nusra, and you have so many Al Qaeda-affiliated groups now within Syria, but he meant by ISIS, I think, the terrorism, so I think this priority that he put is very important. So, we expect, and we hope, that the next administration will be genuine in implementing this rhetoric regarding the terrorism and help not only Syria, because the terrorism today is not a Syrian problem; it’s a Middle Eastern and global problem. So, we hope that they are genuine to forge a real and realistic alliance to fight the terrorists in the region, and that of course will include Syria first of all.

President Assad's Statements to French Media, January 8, 2017.

 Question 1: Mr. President, you have just met a French delegation of MPs. Do you think this visit will have an influence on the French position about Syria?


President Assad: This is a French question. We hope that any delegation that would come here is to see the truth about what is happening in Syria during the last years, since the beginning of the war six years ago, and the problem now, regarding France in particular, is that they don’t have an embassy, they don’t have any relation with Syria at all, so it’s like… we can say it’s a blind state. How can you forge a policy towards a certain region if you can’t see, if you’re blind? You need to see. The importance of those delegations is that they represent the eyes of the states, but that depends on the state; do they want to see, or they want to keep adopting the ostrich policy and they don’t want to tell the truth, because now everything in the world is changing regarding Syria on every level, the local, the regional, and the international. Until this moment, the French administration hasn’t changed its position, they still speak the old language which is disconnected from our reality. That’s why we have a hope that there’s someone in the state who wants to listen to these delegations, to the facts. I’m not talking about my opinion, I’m talking about the reality in Syria. So, we have hope.

Question 2: Mr. President, you said that Aleppo is a major victory for Syria, and a major turn in the crisis. What do you feel when you see the pictures of the hundreds of civilians that were killed in the bombings, and the devastation of the city?


President Assad: Of course, it’s very painful for us as Syrians to see any part of our country destroyed, or to see any blood shedding anywhere,this is self-evident, this is emotional part, but for me as President or as an official, the question for the Syrian people: what I’m going to do. It’s not only about the feeling; the feeling is self-evident as I said. How we’re going to rebuild our cities.

Question 3: But was the bombing of east Aleppo the only solution to retake the city, with the death of civilians, your fellow citizens?


President Assad:  It depends on what kind of war you’re looking for. Are you looking for a quiet war, war without destruction? I haven’t heard, in the history, of a good war, every war is bad. Why bad? Because every war is about destruction, every war is about the killing, that’s why every war is bad. You cannot say “this is a good war” even if it’s for a good reason, to defend your country, for a noble reason, but it’s bad. That’s why it’s not the solution, if you have any other solution. But the question is: how can you liberate the civilians in those areas from the terrorists? Is it better to leave them, to leave them under their supervision, under their oppression, under their fate defined by those terrorists by beheading, by killing, by everything but not having state? Is that the role of the state, just to keep and watch? You have to liberate, and this is the price sometimes, but at the end, the people are liberated from the terrorists. That’s the question now; are they liberated or not? If yes, that’s what we have to do.

Question 4: Mr. President, a ceasefire has been signed on the 30th of December, why do Syrian Army still fight near Damascus in the region of Wadi Barada?

President Assad:  First of all, ceasefire is about different parties, so when you say there’s viable ceasefire is when every party stops fighting and shooting, and it’s not the case in many areas in Syria, and that was reported by the Russian center of observation regarding the ceasefire. There’s breaching of that ceasefire on daily basis in Syria, including Damascus, but in Damascus mainly because the terrorists occupy the main source of water of Damascus where more than five million civilians are deprived from water for the last three weeks now, and the role of the Syrian Army is to liberate that area in order to prevent those terrorists from using that water in order to suffocate the capital. So, that’s why.

Question 5: Mr. President, Daesh is not a part of the ceasefire…


President Assad: No.

Journalist: Do you plan to take again Raqqa, and when?

President Assad:  Let me just continue the second part of the first question. Second part of that ceasefire is not about al-Nusra and ISIS, and the area that we’ve been fighting to liberate recently, regarding the water sources of the capital Damascus, is occupied by al-Nusra, and al-Nusra announced formally that they are occupying that area. So, it’s not part of the ceasefire.

Regarding al-Raqqa, of course it’s our mission, according to the constitution and according to the laws, that we have to liberate every inch of the Syrian land. There’s no question about that, it’s not to be discussed. But it’s about when, what are our priorities, and this is military, regarding to the military planning, about the military priorities. But nationally, there’s no priority; every inch is a Syrian inch, it should be within the purview of the government.

Question 6: Important talks will take place in Astana at the end of the month, including a lot of Syrian parties, including some opposition groups, let’s say. What are you ready to negotiate directly with them, and what are you ready to negotiate to help the peace to come back in Syria.

President Assad: conference is ready to go when they define… when they set the time of that conference. We are ready to negotiate everything. When you talk about negotiation regarding whether to end the conflict in Syria or talking about the future of Syria, anything, it’s fully open, there’s no limit for that negotiations. But who’s going to be there from the other side? We don’t know yet. Is it going to be real Syrian opposition – and when I say “real” it means has grassroots in Syria, not Saudi one or French one or British one – it should be Syrian opposition to discuss the Syrian issues. So, the viability or, let’s say, the success of that conference will depend on that point.

Question 7:Are you even ready to discuss your position as President? That has been contested.

President Assad: Yeah, but my position is related to the constitution, and the constitution is very clear about the mechanism in which you can bring a president or get rid of a president. So, if they want to discuss this point, they have to discuss the constitution, and the constitution is not owned by the government or the president or by the opposition; it should be owned by the Syrian people, so you need a referendum for every constitution. This is one of the points that could be discussed in that meeting, of course, but they cannot say “we need that president” or “we don’t need that president” because the president is related to the ballot box. If they don’t need him, let’s go to the ballot box. The Syrian people should bring a president, not part of the Syrian people.

Question 8: And with this negotiation, what will be the fate of rebel fighters?

President Assad: From what we’ve been implementing during the last three years, because you want genuinely to have peace in Syria, the government offered amnesty for every militant who gives up his armaments, and it worked, and they still have the same option if they want to go back to their normality and to go back to their normal life. This is the maximum that you can offer, amnesty.

Question 9: Mr. President, as you know, French presidential election will take place, do you have a favorite, do you have a preference for one of the candidates?

President Assad:  No, because we don’t have any contacts with any one of them, and we cannot count very much on the statements and rhetoric during the campaign, so we always say let’s wait and see what policy they’re going to adopt after they are in their position. But we always have hopes that the next administration or government or president, they want to deal with the reality, to disconnect themselves from the disconnected policy from our reality. That’s our hope, and they can work for the interest of the French people, because the question now after six years: as a French citizen, do you feel safer? I don’t think the answer is yes. The immigration problem, has it made the situation in your country better? I think the answer is no, whether in France or in Europe. The question now: what is the reason? This is the discussion that the next administration or government or president should deal with in order to deal with our reality, not with their imaginations as has been happening during the last six years.

Question 10: But one of the candidates, Francois Fillon, doesn’t have the same position as the official one; he would like to reestablish the dialogue with Syria. Do you expect his election – if he’s elected – could change the position of France about Syria?

President Assad: His rhetoric regarding the terrorists, or let’s say the priority to fight the terrorists and not meddling in the affairs of other countries, are welcome, but we have to be cautious, because what we’ve learned in this region during the last few years is that many officials would say something and do the opposite. I wouldn’t say that Mr. Fillon would do this. I hope not. But we have to wait and see, because there’s no contact. But so far, what he said, if it’s implemented, that will be very good.

Question 11: Do you appreciate him as a politician, Francois Fillon?

President Assad: I didn’t have any contact with him or cooperation, so whatever I say now won’t be very credible, to be frank with you.

Question 12: Is there a message you want to address to France?

President Assad: I think if I want to send it to the politicians, I will say the self-evident thing; that you have to work for the interest of the Syrian citizens, and for the last six years the situation is going in the other direction, because the French politics harmed the French interests. So, for the French people, I would say the mainstream media has failed in most of the West. The narrative has been debunked because of the reality, and you have the alternative media, you have to look for the truth. The truth was the main victim of the events in the Middle East, including Syria. I would ask any citizen in France to search for the reality, for the real information, through the alternative media. When they search for this information, they can be more effective in dealing with their government, or at least not allowing some politicians to base their politics on lies. That’s what we think is the most important thing during the last six years.

Question 13: Mr. President, your father has been a lifelong President of Syria. Do you consider the option of not being the President anymore, one day?

President Assad: Yeah, that depends on two things: the first one is the will of the Syrian people; do they want that person to be president or not. If I want to be president while the Syrian people doesn’t want me, even if I win in the elections, I don’t have strong support, I cannot achieve anything, especially in a complicated region like Syria. You cannot be just elected president, that doesn’t work, you need popular support. Without it I cannot be successful. So, at that time, there’s no meaning to be president.

The second one; if I have that feeling that I want to be president, I will nominate myself, but that depends on the first factor. If I feel that the Syrian people doesn’t want me, of course I wouldn’t be. So, it’s not about me mainly, it’s about the Syrian people; do they want me or not. That’s how I look at it.

Question 14: Last question; Donald Trump is to be appointed as President of the United States in less than two weeks. He has been clear that he wants to improve relationships with Russia, which is one of your main allies…

President Assad: Yeah, exactly.

Journalist:  Do you consider… do you expect that it will change the position of the United States towards Syria?

President Assad: Yeah, if you want to talk realistically, because the Syrian problem is not isolated, it’s not only Syrian-Syrian; actually, the biggest part… or let’s say the major part of the Syrian conflict is regional and international. The simplest part that you can deal with is the Syrian-Syrian part. The regional and the international part depends mainly on the relation between the United States and Russia. What he announced yesterday was very promising, if there’s a genuine approach or initiative toward improving the relation between the United States and Russia, that will effect every problem in the world, including Syria. So, I would say yes, we think that’s positive, regarding the Syrian conflict.

Journalist: What is positive?

President Assad:  I mean the relation, the improvement of the relation between the United States and Russia will reflect positively on the Syrian conflict.


Journalists: Thank you very much.

 

 Dr. Mohammad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 More of H.E. President Al-Assad's interviews with French Media:

 President Assad's AFP Interview

Whoever fights terrorism somewhere will protect the rest of the world

 President Al-Assad's France 2 TV Interview, April 20, 2015

President Al-Assad's interview with the French 'Paris Match Magazine, December 4, 2014

President Bashar al-Assad’s interview with Agence France Presse AFP 20-01-2014

PRESIDENT AL-ASSAD/ FRANCE 2 TV INTERVIEW ( November 15, 2009)

PRESIDENT AL-ASSAD/ LE FIGARO INTERVIEW ( November 13, 2009)

PRESIDENT AL-ASSAD/ FRANCE 3 INTERVIEW (May 3, 2009)

PRESIDENT ASSAD/ FRENCH TV CHANNEL3 INTERVIEW (September 2, 2008)

PRESIDENT ASSAD/ LE MONDE DIPLOMATIQUE (July 9th, 2008)

PRESIDENT ASSAD/ L'HUMANITE INTERVIEW (July 9th, 2008)

 PRESIDENT ASSAD/ FRANCE 3 INTERVIEW (December 5, 2005)

PRESIDENT ASSAD/ LE FIGARO INTERVIEW (June 23, 2001)

PRESIDENT ASSAD/ 2001 FRENCH TV INTERVIEW (June 22, 2001)

PRESIDENT ASSAD/ FRENCH MEDIA INTERVIEW (June 16, 2001)

 

  

Solution in Syria Is by the Syrian People

 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.

President Assad RTP TV Interview, December 14, 2016

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.