“No” to violence as a way of dealing with political problems - Deputy PM Qadri Jamil

The visit to Moscow of Deputy Prime Minister of Syria for Economic Affairs Qadri Jamil has come to the end. In the current Syrian government he represents the Popular Front for Change and Liberation, which is part of the “internal opposition”. Before leaving Moscow, Qadri Jamil gave an interview to the Voice of Russia.

Please tell us about the results of your visit to Moscow. And, by the way, will you define more exactly, what was the status of your visit – was it a state or a party visit? That is, were you representing the government or the opposition?

The Syrian government has not authorized me to discuss any specific issues; I am not responsible for the political component in the government. My sphere of responsibility in the government is economic issues. Thus, this was a purely party visit, I was here as a representative of the Popular Front.

Nevertheless, could you briefly describe the current situation in the Syrian economy?

The economic situation in the country directly depends on the security situation. It is impossible to solve economic problems without settling acute political issues and, of course, without solving issues in the sphere of security. We need stability. It is also necessary to solve the problem of international economic sanctions. All these factors negatively affect the situation in the economy. The real situation is very complex. The way out is only possible through searching for a political solution by means of a dialogue.

In this sense, the main hopes are connected with convening the Geneva-2 conference on Syria. Now, there is confidence that this conference will be convened. Both international and regional players are already aware that it is impossible to solve the Syrian issue by military means; the only possible way out is negotiations.

A political settlement is the only possible option.

Precisely, this is the only solution. The Geneva-2 gives a chance to approach a political solution. First of all, we should stop foreign intervention in the internal affairs of Syria. This will help to reduce the level of violence, which, in turn, will allow to launch a political process.

What is your version of this political settlement? It is impossible to imagine that the opposing parties will agree on how to go on living immediately after they sit at the negotiating table. What is the starting point?

They should agree before they sit at the table of negotiations. They should say “No” to foreign military intervention, “No” to violence as a way of dealing with political problems. After that we can solve all the problems.

This is, as I understand, the point of view of the “internal” Syrian opposition. Meanwhile, the external opposition represented by the Syrian National Council has refused to participate in the Geneva conference. What are the relations between the internal and external opposition now; do you have common grounds?

There are relations between the internal and external opposition, but as for common grounds – everything is more complicated here. The external opposition is guided by a number of external players, and the internal one is guided by its supporters inside the country. The external players pose specific tasks connected with their interests to their partners from the external opposition, but they are completely unrealizable in Syria under current conditions. On the contrary, our position is based on the analysis of the situation inside the country. Therefore, there are very few common grounds between us. In addition, the external opposition, as you have correctly pointed out, is in point of fact divided in their views on participation in the Geneva conference.

Is it possible to convene the Geneva conference without participation of representatives of the external opposition?

The convening of the Geneva conference is a decided issue; international forces have agreed on the need to convene it. As it was stated, the doors of the conference will be open to everybody, who is not indifferent to the fate of Syria. Those, who refuse to take part in it, will find themselves away from the new political reality and will be doomed to defeat and isolation.

Do you mean that, say, the moderate opposition is ready to carry on a dialogue with the authorities?

It is doing it already.

Does the opposition have its own vision of economic and social development of Syria? Besides the “Assad, Go Away!” slogan, what else does the opposition constitute today?

Firstly, I personally, and we as the Front for Change and Liberation, we are the opposition, and we have entered the government. We entered the government, because we believed that this was a less coalition government, which was a model of the future national government, of a broad national unity in solving the Syrian crisis. This is first of all. Secondly, there is no united opposition in Syria, and there should not be. We are moving towards a pluralistic society in terms of politics. There are different points of view among the opposition, there are different positions, and there is an opposition, which has important programs - serious economic, social and political programs. And there is an opposition, which only has the “Assad, Go Away!” slogan, but this is not a program.

Does it mean a change for the better for the situation in Syria?

Of course, for the better, so that we can build the future Syria, Syria that will have great growth rates and a very deep social stratum.

Given the current situation in the country, within what period of time do you think you can achieve this? What’s the economic damage today?

It is great. Now, the real economy production has come down by 50 percent. The most important thing today is to launch a political process, stop the violence, and then we will talk about economic and social damages.

There are many terrorist groups fighting in Syria. Could it become a signal for re-introducing the state of emergency in the country, previously cancelled by Assad at the request of some opposition forces?

The state of emergency remains in force. The Geneva-2 should firstly ban the export of mercenaries, money and weapons to Syria, that is, close the border for them. If this happens, then we can say that the situation in Syria begins to stabilize. It is the duty of the international community.

There are a lot of data about the number of people, who left Syria during the war. Do you know the exact number? Is it tens of millions?

No, it's an exaggeration. There are about five million of those, who fled their homes, but remained inside of Syria. I think, there are no more than two million of those, who left the country, but settled in the border areas of Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, and Iraq.

Do you agree that there is a humanitarian disaster in Syria now?

Yes, it is, in some areas. For example, there is such situation in the suburbs of Aleppo, and in the suburbs of Damascus.

What food does the country need? What is it: sugar, grain?

First of all, it is flour, sugar, rice, and medicines.

Which countries are already helping now?

Russia helps, Iran, China helps. That is, Syria’s real friends help us.

Mr. Qadri Jamil, the process of disarmament is under way in Syria now. It is very expensive. The country is not able to cope financially with this issue by itself. Which countries have already expressed their wish to help Damascus financially, and in what amount?

Russia was the first to declare its readiness to help in this matter; I think the international community should take a serious part in this, because it is very expensive, and the situation in Syria is difficult. Of course, China is ready. I believe, not only friends of Syria are ready to help in this matter.

And at what stage is this process now - already at the stage of documentation or of disarmament and destruction?

Observers have already inspected 50 percent of the facilities, and the process of destruction has already begun.

In your opinion, is the term until the next summer enough time?

Maybe it’ll take a little bit more time.

Are some representatives of the opposition deliberately trying to ruin the process, to undermine it?

Some representatives of the opposition do not want to stop violence in Syria in general; so, they are trying to find different reasons to disrupt political processes, including this one.

What are your expectations concerning the future of Syria, the end of the conflict?

I believe, during the next year we will be able to come out of the crisis, and begin to raise Syria from ruins.

So, you expect that the Syrians will enter the year of 2015 in peace, don’t you?

Yes.

With a new President, because there will be elections next year …

There will be new presidential elections, and the Syrians will choose their President themselves.

Marianna Ozherelyeva, Navaof Ibrahim

M. Wassouf

Syrian Arab army advances in Moaddameyeh area, wards off ISIL's attack on Aleppo prison

 

PROVINCES,(ST)_ Fighting between units of the armed forces and armed terrorist groups have been the fiercest  on all fronts nationwide, media reports have said.

The Syrian TV Channel confirmed on Saturday the death of dozens of terrorists in clashes in an unrelenting military operations in Damascus countryside, Aleppo, Daraa, Idlib, Lattakia and Homs provinces. 

It said that at least 10 terrorists were killed in a clash in al-Bweida town farms, in  southern Damascus countryside and 20 others were eliminated by competent authorities to the east of Jeb al-Jrah outside Homs province.

While alikhbariya al-Soreyeh TV channel reported that the armed forces imposed control over the south-western side of al-Moaddameyeh area, around 16 km to the west of Damascus, and reached the industrial city there.

6 hostages freed

It added that an army unit, in cooperation with locals of al-Tal area, launched a tailored operation which resulted in injuring several terrorists and releasing 6 hostages held by terrorists.  

These developments coincided with the continuity of operations against terrorists in flashpoint areas of Hajjira, Harasta Farms, Zamalka, Jobar, al-Qabon,  al-Qasemeyeh, al-Nashabeyeh, and Adra outside Damascus and in towns of Tal Daneh, al-Jadedeh and Kweris in eastern Aleppo countryside and in quarters of al-Wrsheh and al-Hamedeyeh in Homs province as well as in Abo al-Dohor, Kafr Nebbel, Majdelya and Serjeh towns in Idlib countryside.

An unknown number of terrorists died and a chunk of weapons were destroyed in the said areas and in towns of Dweren, Kafr talda, Salma and Zahyeh in Lattakia countryside amid reports of destroying several weapons-laden cars for terrorists in Wadi al-Sendian area to the east of Der Ateyyeh area outside Damascus and at the entry of Nemr town in southern Daraa province.

In this context, the Beirut-based al-Mayadeen TV channel said that more weapons were destroyed when the armed forces targeted boats loaded with arms in al-Rastan lake in Homs province.  

Aleppo prison 

As for other developments, the official news agency reported that the armed forces warded off terrorists attack on the Aleppo central prison and destroyed several smuggling conduits and further foiled terrorists bid to detonate 11 explosive devices on the outskirts of Wadi al-Dayf outside Idlib province.

A military source made it clear that the terrorists, who attacked the prison,  belong to the "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL).

"The terrorists prevented the Red Crescent Organization's team from delivering food and medicine to the prisoners in Aleppo central prison," Aleppo governor said.

Explosion and shells

In a separate incident, a suicide car bomb attack took place in the surroundings of Thameco Company on the outskirts of Jaramana suburb towards al-Mleha suburb, to the south-east of Damascus, leaving 15 citizens seriously wounded.

The sound of the explosion was heard by  locals of Jaramana suburb,  located just 4 km to the west of al-Mleha suburb.

An official source stated that the wounded were admitted to hospitals.

The explosion followed by firing mortar shells on residential areas in Jaramana, al-Dwel'a and Tabbaleh.

The shells,  fired by terrorists, wounded one citizen causing widespread damages.   

Later on, Alikhbaria al-Soreyeh TV channel said that a booby-trap detonated inside a shop in Bludan area, around 50km to the north-west of Damascus, leaving 4 citizens seriously wounded. 

Basma Qaddour

Al-Zou'bi: Nature of Events in Syria No More Secret

Damascus – The nature of the ongoing events in Syria is no more secret as it has become clear to everyone, stressed Information Minister, Omran al-Zoubi, pointing out that the aggression on Syria, which has been completely uncovered, now needs to identify its elements and characteristics in order to show how sharp the contradictions among these elements are, whether in the military field or the political one.

In an article published by the local "al-Thawraa" Newspaper on Saturday, al-Zou'bi said that the scene in Syria is part of a bigger regional and Arab scene in which "tales about Arab spring and people's revolutions were manifested."

He added that these so-called "revolutions" have brought extremists to power in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.

He clarified that the regional scene has increased suspicion among secular, leftist and nationalist powers, because of the emergence of  two kinds of foreign forces represented in  the radical extremist powers, namely the governments of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey and in the international powers that perpetuated their views towards the region on the basis of preserving the security of Israel and dominating oil and gas in this region.

The minister said that the aggression on Syria has uncovered the political role and involvement of all concerned countries, political parties and alliances in what is happening in Syria. In addition, the aggression also unmasked the West's disability, particularly the USA, to deal with facts and real events, because of not understanding the political, economic and cultural changes which have taken place in the Arab region throughout the last century.

Al-Zou'bi added that that aggression also has brought to the surface the state of awareness of the peoples and governments of the world and the region about what happened in Syria, particularly in terms of the deep relation between the opposition parties and the armed terrorist organizations.

He stressed that the enhancement of the Russian, Chinese and Iranian roles at the political, military and economic levels during the aggression on Syria, has formed the beginning of a new era of international and regional balances which will take place at the expense of the US role.

The Minister affirmed that the political solution to the crisis in Syria has been the option of the Syrian state from the very beginning of the aggression, but this solution needs the kind of politicians who believe in the state, the homeland and the people and who consider "the language of exaggeration and the call for attacking Syria as treason."

"The political route needs Syrians who don't fear dialogue with the state, but who seek direct dialogue," al-Zou'bi concluded.

H. Mustafa

Al-Jaafari at UNSC Session: Syria is an Example to Be Followed in Women Empowerment

NEW YORK-Syria is a leading country in the Arab and Islamic worlds in terms of empowering women and meeting their needs, stressed Bashar al-Jaafari, Syria's Permanent Representative at the United Nations.

Al-Jaafari, who was speaking last night at the UN Security Council's Session on "Women, the Rule of Law and Transitional Justice", said that while women in Syria assumed the position of Vice-President, they were not even allowed to drive in other countries. 

"The crisis in Syria had been caused by mercenaries recruited from all parts of the world to impose strange, inhuman and Wahhabi ideas that completely contradict the values and international conventions in which the Syrian people believe. 

 "These unjust Wahhabi ideas had degraded women, turned them into concubines and encouraged them to commit adultery in the name of Islam with a full support from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Israel and France," al-Jaafari said. He pointed out that one of the dangerous fatwas which targeted women in Syria was "jihad al-Nikah" (jihad by marriage) which was issued by a number of idiots who were supported, financed by some gulf countries, mainly Qatar and the Saudi Arabia.

"This fatwa insults Arabs and Islam as it urges Muslim women to practice prostitution in the name of religion," al-Jaafari said.

He affirmed that Qatar and Saudi Arabia will keep offering money and feed sectarianism in order to eliminate the socio-economic, security and legislative progress in Syria aiming at undermining the country's independent national political decision.

Al-Jaafari expressed Syria's deep concern over the deterioration of security in the camps set in the neighboring countries to host displaced Syrians, indicating that Syrian women and girls are suffering highest levels of insecurity and are being exposed to violations like rape and illegal marriage in these camps.

Al-Jaafari asserted that "the regimes Qatar and Saudi Arabia must also be held accountable for assisting those who committed rape, trafficking, and forced marriage against Syrian women. 

"Syrian girl refugees, some younger than 14, were being sold as slaves in the name of religion," he said

The Syrian Representative at the UN stressed that Syria has sent a detailed report on the ill fatwas to the UN Secretary General, pointing out that starting from their keenness to punish criminals the Syrian authorities are documenting these crimes and dangerous violations, arresting perpetrators and held them accountable before the Syrian national law.

 He called on the United Nations to put pressure on all powers who sought to destabilize the Syrian people for profit.  The plight of Syrian women living under the Israeli occupation in the Syrian Golan Heights must also be addressed, he stressed.

H. Mustafa

Pursuing terrorists continue

Provinces, (ST)- The army units on Friday continued massive raids against terrorists across Syria.

In Damascus and its countryside, units of the armed forces targeted terrorist groupings and hideouts in Barza,Qaboun,Jobar,Zamalka,Harasta,Doma,Hajira ,al Nashabiya and the surroundings of Buwaida , al-Saqi area and Rima farms in al-Nabek countryside and in Ras al-Ma'ara, Southeast Yabrood, al-Petra and Southeast Adra.

Elsewhwere in the country, an armed terrorist group that tried to infiltrate to the brick factory in Idleb countryside has been repelled,a military source told SANA.

In Homs city and countryside,army units eliminated Friday terrorist groups in Palmyra countryside and a number of neighborhoods in Homs city and countryside, destroying their dens and gatherings.

A military source said numbers of terrorists have been killed and others injured near the national hospital in Joret al-Shayyah neighborhood, in Borj al-Hamwi in al-Hamidieh neighborhood, near Shamsi Basha Mosque in al-Qusour neighborhood and in Bab Hud and al-Qarabees neighborhoods in Homs city.Also in the villages of Kissin, Kafrlaha, al-Houla and al-Dar al-Kabira, killing all the terrorists inside.

In Aleppo, terrorists also sustained heavy losses in the following areas: Aleppo central prison,

al-Sfireh , al-Jdaideh, Kwaires and Rasm al-Abboud.

A military source said  that an army unit clashed with a terrorist group while trying to sneak into Dahret Abed Rabbo in al-Lairmon and killed all the group members.

M.D

Patriarch Lahham :victory in Syria is to achieve peace

 

 

 

LONDON ,(ST) _Patriarch of Antioch and All the East for the Greek  Melkite  Church Gregory III Laham  stressed that  victory in Syria is to achieve peace and push for convening its  International Conference in Geneva.

Beginning his visit to London, Lahham said , " I'm here to tell the world that no one wins the war. Peace is the victory and  Syria is triumphed  only by  peace , therefore we should all go to Geneva, including the church and everyone who works for the convening of the Geneva Conference should  think of the church role."

The Patriarch indicated that the two  patriarchs  John Ibrahim Metropolitan of Aleppo for the Syrian Orthodox  church and Paul Yazigi ,Metropolitan of Aleppo and Iskenderun and its Surroundings for the Greek  Orthodox,  kidnapped by terrorist groups in Aleppo countryside, were supposed to be released  but that did not happen.

On the other hand , and in an interview with the BBC , Patriarch Lahham called on  the international community to stop sending arms and prevent the flow of foreign militants into Syria.

"The use of force and violence can not change the current situation on the ground in Syria, therefore , we should embark on  dialogue , a political solution and bringing the parties together," Patriarch Lahham said, adding that  "Arab Christians can play a role in the change of the scenery and in convergence and unification among all  for a better life for all Syrians." 

T. Fateh 

 

 

 

Bishop Hanna : Golan Occupation will be Inevitably Eliminated

OCCUPIED GOLAN, (ST)_ Bishop Atallah Hanna Archbishop of Sebastia of the Greek Orthodox Church said during his visit to the occupied Syrian Golan yesterday, " when we come to the  Golan , we are in Syria , we do not recognize occupation. It will be   inevitably eliminated."

In a speech , he delivered in Sham  center in the occupied Majdal Shams  village ,where dozens the Golan Heights people,  elders and notables gathered to welcome him, Bishop Hanna  added  " We came from Jerusalem, carrying the  message of hope and peace to convey the love and peace of Jerusalem and to congratulate our people in the occupied Syrian Golan   of  Eid Al Adha and the anniversary of the glorious October liberation war ."

For his part, Sheikh Nazih Mahmoud in a speech on behalf of the people of the occupied Syrian Golan  welcomed bishop Hanna saying , " As Syrians, our  compass will remain occupied Palestine and that Syria is victorious over the war being hatched against it."

Sheikh Mahmoud extended  tribute to the brave  Syrian army and the homeland martyrs , expressing  the hope of victory and liberating  the Golan Heights from the Israeli occupation. 

T. Fateh