Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad conducted a joint interview with Russia 24 and NTV on Wednesday in order to discuss the latest developments going on around Syria, including the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) victory in east Aleppo and the so-called “Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham’s” (ISIS) capture of Palmyra in eastern Homs.
President Assad began the interview by answering the question many observers of the Syrian conflict have asked over the course of two days: what comes after Aleppo?
“Liberating Aleppo doesn’t end with liberating the city itself, for it needs to be secured on the outside. Afterwards, identifying which city comes next depends on which city contains the largest number of terrorists and which city provides other countries the opportunity to support them logistically,” the Syrian President responded.
“There will be no pause, because this only happens in an area in which terrorists say that they are prepared to hand in their weapons or leave the area. Only then military operations stop. Operations do not stop during negotiations because we do not trust the terrorists because they often say something and do the opposite,” Assad added.
When asked about Palmyra and the Islamic State’s recent attack on the city, the Syrian President responded that the terrorist group would not be able to launch a powerful offensive of this kind without support from western nations.
“Our real perception of the latest ISIS attack a few days ago on Palmyra in large numbers of fighters, with sophisticated weapons which ISIS did not have before and in an area which exceeds tens of kilometers, means that ISIS received direct support from states,” Assad asserted.
“It’s not the case that ISIS just came from Mosul. How could they bring heavy artillery from Mosul? What have American warplanes in Mosul or Al-Raqqa been doing? The fact is that the large majority of those came from Al-Raqqa and Deir Ezzor, either through direct American support or at best the Americans knew but turned a blind eye and left the implementation of the operation, in terms of funding and support to Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia,” the Syrian President concluded on western support of ISIS in Palmyra.
The Syrian President vowed to return Palmyra to the Syrian people and defeat the Islamic State terrorists that recaptured the city after a week-long offensive in the eastern Homs countryside.