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Sheikh Qassem to Reuters: Assad Best Choice to Prevent Syria Partition

4 August 2016 16:01

Lebanon's Hezbollah deputy leader Sheikh Naim Qassem is pictured during an interview with Reuters at his office in Beirut's suburbs, Lebanon August 3, 2016. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

Lebanese Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was the best protection against preventing the partition of Syria adding there was no prospect of any end to the war in Syria until after November’s US presidential election.

In an interview with Reuters published on Wednesday, Sheikh Qassem said Hezbollah, Iran and Russia would stand by Assad until the end.

Recapturing Aleppo, Syria’s second major city where a decisive battle is unfolding, remained an objective but was not an immediate goal, he said. “The main objective of the Syrian state and allies was to cut the road between the city of Aleppo and Idlib. As for liberating Aleppo that’s a different goal that may not be undertaken quickly…”

“Regaining Aleppo will remain one of the goals of the Syrian state and its allies but we’re not tied to a timeframe,” said Sheikh Qassem.

“There is no solution in Syria without Assad, and however much the different sides try to prolong the crisis and to complicate the solution, they can’t produce a solution without President Assad,” he added.

“With President Assad the solution can be logical and rational in finding political parameters that can give the opposition its share and the government its share, and there could be coordination which allows for putting things back in order and reviving authority in Syria”, the deputy S.G. said.

Certain countries are seeking to partition Syria and Iraq where the ISIL Takfiri group has been operating over the last few years, the Hezbollah official added.

“So far the forces that want the unity of Iraq and Syria are able to prevent the idea of partition, but we should remain worried about… the possibility that some countries might push these two countries or one of them into partition,” Sheikh Qassem added.

He further noted that Hezbollah has prevented ISIL from expanding into Lebanon.

“This is a major achievement… these great achievements deserve every sacrifice,” he said. “Iranian and Russian relations with Syria helped achieve steadfastness on the ground because both support Assad staying in power and back a political solution,” he added.

Sheikh Qassem told Reuters that ISIL will increase its attacks in Europe and beyond, adding that the terrorist group has an expansionist strategy and will use any means to achieve its goals.

“European pains are big and will increase more and more,” he said, adding that ISIL “will not leave an opportunity in all the countries of the world without exception to attack when it can and when is able to.”

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