Extremist mentality severe threat to Mideast and beyond: Assad
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says the most serious threat currently facing the world is the extremist mentality, which pervades the societies inside the Middle East and beyond, and is the root cause of terrorism.
The Syrian president made the remarks in a meeting with a visiting British delegation, including members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and some religious and academic figures, in the Syrian capital city of Damascus on Sunday, the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported.
This extremist mentality is the foundation of terrorism, which has started recently to strike in many areas inside Europe and the Western countries in general, Assad further said.
He also stated that in order to eliminate terrorism, it is not sufficient to fight it on the ground, but its underlying and borderless Takfiri ideology must also be eradicated.
Wahhabism, the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia, which is freely preached by its clerics, fuels the ideological engine of terror organizations like the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group and Fateh al-Sham, al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch formerly known as al-Nusra Front, which are wreaking havoc in Syria and Iraq.
The Syrian leader also said that such visits paid by foreign figures and delegations would be beneficial in correcting the false image about the status quo of the Syrian conflict deliberately broadcast by some Western media outlets.
Assad added that these media work according to certain political agendas, which are in fact in the interest of the governments and not the people.
The British delegation members, for their part, said that after visiting Syria and speaking with many Syrian officials and citizens, they would convey the truth about what is actually going on in Syria and attempt to correct the wrong image which the British government and a large number of the British public have on the Middle Eastern country.
They also said they would convey to the British people the great deal of unbearable pain and suffering the Syrian people have to put up with because of crimes committed by terrorist groups inside the country.
United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict in Syria since March 2011. The UN has stopped its official casualty count in Syria, citing its inability to verify the figures it receives from various sources.