Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says the bloody militancy plaguing his homeland is aimed at protecting the common interests of Israel as well as regional and global powers, stressing that the “only option” left to save the nation is “victory” against foreign-backed terrorists.
“You can assume in any case that these terrorists are fighting for Israel. Even if they are not a regular Israeli army, they are still fighting for Israel. And Israel shares the objectives with Turkey, the United States, France, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other states. They all share the same objective,” Assad said in an interview with Croatian newspaper Vecernji published on Thursday.
“Israel is doing its best to support these terrorists in every place the Syrian army advances. They attack in one way or another in order to provide support to the terrorists and in order to stall the momentum of the Syrian Arab Army in facing them,” he added.
Assad expressed confidence that “without Western intervention,” Damascus can end the war in a few months, saying, “Things are moving in a better direction, as I said, not in the interest of the terrorists but in the interest of the Syrian people, but war is unpredictable.”
In response to a question as to whether there is hope for an end to the war, Assad said, “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.”
The president said that Damascus has sought to “turn this hope into reality” by “fighting terrorism,” on the one hand, and “achieving reconciliations with all those who want to lay down their weapons,” on the other hand, and noted, “There has been progress on both fronts.”
The Syrian head of state further said there is no “option except victory” in the war against terrorism, stressing, “If we do not win this war, it means that Syria will be deleted from the map. We have no choice in facing this war, and that’s why we are confident, we are persistent and we are determined.”
Assad lashed out at the West for using the pretext of war on terrorism as a tool to achieve its political objectives, saying, “They do not fight it (terrorism)…The fact of the matter is that they use terrorism as a card to achieve different political agendas, even when this terrorism backfires and claims victims in their own countries. But they do not acknowledge this fact.”
“Europe, or a number of European countries, support terrorists on a large scale, send to Syria tens of thousands of terrorists, or support them directly and indirectly, logistically, with arms, money, political cover, and everything,” Assad pointed out.
The Syrian president slammed the unauthorized US airstrikes in Syria as part of Washington’s policy to secure its foothold in the country, adding, “In general terms, the American policy is based on creating chaos in different parts of the world and creating conflicts among states.”
“Through these conflicts, it secures a foothold through the contradictions and through its proxies who are already there but were able to become prominent because of the new circumstances. And then it takes part in bargaining in order to secure its interests in that region,” he added.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-sponsored militancy since March 2011. United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict. The UN has stopped its official casualty count, citing its inability to verify the figures it receives from various sources.