UK, France airstrikes in Syria destined to fail: President Assad
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says airstrikes launched by the UK and France against purported positions of the Daesh Takfiri terrorists in the Arab country will be futile as the two states lack the will as well as the vision on how to defeat terrorism.
He made the comments in an interview with the British Sunday Times newspaper published on the website of Syria’s official SANA news agency on Sunday.
Putting Paris and London among the main supporters of terrorists in Syria, Assad said their participation in the so-called US-coalition that purports to target Daesh positions is illegal.
“It is legal only when the participation is in cooperation with the legitimate government in Syria. So, I would say they don’t have the will and they don’t have the vision on how to defeat terrorism,” President Assad emphasized.
The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate since September 2014. The mission has fallen severely short of dislodging the terrorists.
Takfiri terror groups like Daesh and the al-Nusra Front have expanded freely despite the US-led coalition air raids, Assad said.
The Syrian leader hailed the Russian aerial campaign against terror groups operating in his country as legal and constructive since it has been coordinated with Damascus.
“Look at the Russians, when they wanted to make this alliance against terrorism, the first thing they did was they started discussions with the Syrian government before anyone else. Then they started discussing the same issue with other governments. Then they came. So, this is the legal way to combat any terrorist around the world,” said the Syrian president.
Moscow launched its air raids against the Takfiris, including Daesh terrorists, in Syria on September 30, upon a request from the Syrian government.
In response to a question about the issue of moderate militant groups in Syria, President Assad said since the beginning of the conflict in Syria in March 2011, there has been no such thing as moderate militants in the Arab country.
Stressing that Daesh terrorists cannot be defeated by airstrikes alone and without cooperation with forces on the ground, he declared Syria’s readiness to “welcome any country or government, [and] any political effort” to fight terrorism alongside Damascus if they are “serious and genuine.”
“Ultimately, we want to resolve the situation in Syria and prevent further bloodshed. That is our mission. So, it’s not about love or hate, accepting or not, it is about reality. Are they truly ready to help us fight terrorism, to stop terrorists coming into Syria through their surrogate governments in our region, or not? That is the real question. If they are ready, we will welcome them. This is not personal,” Assad emphasized.
Elsewhere in his remarks the Syrian president pointed to a meeting set to be held by Saudi Arabia that has issued invitations to 65 Syrian opposition figures to attend a conference in Riyadh later this month. The so-called Syrian National Coalition has reportedly accepted an invitation to join the talks.
“With regards to the meeting in Saudi Arabia, the Saudis have been supporting terrorism directly, publicly and explicitly. That meeting will not change anything on the ground. Before the meeting and after the meeting Saudi Arabia has been supporting terrorists and will continue to do so. It is not a benchmark or a critical juncture to discuss. It will not change anything,” he said.
The Syrian conflict, which started over four years ago, has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people and left over one million injured, according to the UN. The Syrian government blames the foreign-backed militancy in the country on some states, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia.