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West trying to save terrorists, not civilians: Assad

14 December 2016 15:20

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says Western governments are concerned about saving the foreign-backed terrorists in Syria and not the lives of civilians in his country.

“They (Western governments) do not worry when… the terrorists are killing those civilians or attacking Palmyra and destroying the human heritage — not only the Syrian heritage,” Assad said in a Wednesday interview with RT, referring to the city of Palmyra, which recently fell to Daesh terrorists for a second time.

He made the remarks in response to the question of why Western media outlets were silent on Palmyra’s fall but creating hype about the defeat of militants in Aleppo, another Syrian city, by Syrian forces.

“If we liberate Aleppo from the terrorists, the Western officials and the mainstream media, they are going to be worrying about the civilians,” Assad said, adding that if the opposite happens and the terrorists engage in attacking and killing civilians, the West expresses little concern.

He warned that the statements by Western governments should not be taken at face value.


Syrian residents fleeing the violence gather at a checkpoint manned by government forces, in the Maysaloun neighborhood of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, December 8, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Referring to the Daesh offensive on Palmyra, Assad said, “If you look at the timing of their attack, [it] is related to what is happening in Aleppo. This is the response to what is happening in Aleppo [and] the advancement of the Syrian Arab Army. They wanted to undermine the victory in Aleppo and at the same time to distract the Syrian Army from Aleppo,” he said. “But, of course, it did not work.”

The Syrian president was asked about Western pleas to Russia and Iran to convince Syria to agree to a ceasefire in Aleppo at a time when Syrian forces were significantly advancing. He responded by saying that what the Western governments were in fact asking for was that Russia and Iran “stop the advancement of the Syrian Army against the terrorists.”

“That is the meaning of their statement. Forget about the rest. [What they mean is] ‘You went too far in defeating the terrorists, that shouldn’t happen.’ You should tell the Syrians to stop this. We have to keep the terrorists and to save them,” Assad said.

Syrian forces have almost completed the liberation of Aleppo, the country’s second-largest city, which had been occupied by foreign-sponsored militants since 2011. Fighting had generally ended in eastern Aleppo on Tuesday but resumed again on Wednesday.


The Syrian residents of the newly-liberated eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo walk through the Bab al-Hadid district as they go back home under the supervision of the Syrian government forces, December 8, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Hundreds of foreign-backed militants have laid down arms in Aleppo in the past 24 hours, when almost 6,000 civilians left the militant-held districts of the Syrian city, the Russian Defense Ministry says.

The Russian ministry also said Wednesday that, over the same period, 366 terrorists had laid down their arms and moved out of militant-controlled parts of the city.

The evacuations followed a ceasefire deal, brokered by Russia and Turkey, under which the militants were to start leaving from Aleppo along with civilians in the early hours of Wednesday. Later, however, fighting resumed and is ongoing.

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