NBC’s Bill Neely, speaking with the President of Syria Bashar al-Assad, provided Western audiences a brief glimpse into Syria’s war from the perspective of its government’s head of state. President Assad’s focus is on defeating the terrorists and fully restoring Syria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
In this objective, the government is gaining ground. Recent advances in Aleppo City have cut off Fatah Halab, the “moderate” rebels in the eastern sector of the city, from their supply routes to the Turkish border. The encirclement of Aleppo’s rebels improves the position of the Syrian army and makes way for at least two possible scenarios. Either recapturing the occupied territory, which would require urban warfare and block-by-block battles, or maintain a tight siege, releasing government troops to other battlefronts, while negotiating with the rebels within to surrender. With no access to any supply lines in east Aleppo, Fatah Halab will be forced to either fight their way out or pray for a deal that resembles the 2014 Old Homs agreement.
Last year the Russian intervention helped reverse the course of the war, degrading ISIS and stalling the fanatical terrorist group’s advances in government territory. Assad clarified that the entry of Russian military assets into Syria was a formal agreement between two sovereign nations, legal under international law. Proxy support for rebel groups however, is illegal, and an act of war against a sovereign nation. NBC’S Bill Neely pressed President Assad, what in exchange for this intervention did Russia ask for?
He [Putin] didn’t ask for anything…There interest is common interest with us. They are fighting the same terrorists that they could fight in Russia. We are fighting the same terrorists that could be fighting in Europe, the United States, anywhere else in the world…If he wanted to ask me for something, he would ask me to fight the terrorists.
To defeat the terrorists in Syria ensures they will not return back to the nation’s they come from, in Europe and around the world. If they were to return, terrorist attacks would certainly follow. The terrorists would have received military training and returned home more fanatic than before they had left to fight in Syria. It is in the common interest of Syria and Russia, as well as the rest of the world, including America, to cooperate in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism. The American intervention against ISIS, which was not formally agreed to by the Syrian government, was unmasked by the Russian intervention, according to Assad. “America Does not have good intentions towards Syria,” the President remarked. The U.S. did not seriously degrade or even target ISIS. The Russian intervention displayed that the campaign against terrorism could be carried out more effectively. The Obama administration made a deliberate decision to only halfheartedly commit to the fight against ISIS.
Will the next President be any different? Who would the Syrian government prefer replace Obama, Trump or Clinton? Assad was unconcerned by the election in America, claiming that the person holding the office was not of importance to his government. The policy’s they put into affect in respect to Syria will determine the relationship. “If you change the administration but not the politics then the president in the U.S. means nothing to me.” Assad showed no sympathy for one candidate or the other, despite relentless baiting by the interviewer, attempting to gauge his support and opinions on Trump and Clinton. In truth, it doesn’t seem Assad has much of an opinion on the American political process, being more concerned with the fight to preserve his own nation and redress political grievances at home. He did however, show good faith, and would like a better relationship with America’s next president. “We always hope the next president will be much wiser than the previous one.” He is not unsympathetic to the American people, showing no ill will against the civilian people, who have no role in the war against his country. NBC’s Bill Neely asked Assad to imagine a scenario in which his government was aware of an unfolding terrorist plot by ISIS against America, how would he react to such news?
I cannot blame the innocents in the United States for the bad intentions of their officials. If the Syrian government was aware of a terrorist plot against the U.S., it would, out of principal, inform the United States.
In the initial stages of the war against Syria, the media operated on behalf of Syrian rebels. Thinking that the rebels were supporters of “Freedom and Democracy”, fighting against an “evil dictator” loathed by every Syrian in the world. The media spun a narrative of government brutality against innocents that has been thoroughly debunked. The media manipulated Americans and others to think regime change would promote peace in the Middle East. Instead, the campaign brought chaos that has grown into a global problem. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), in cooperation with Russian airstrikes and allied fighters on the ground, are gaining in the war against terrorist groups operating in Syria, and that will bring stability back to the country. The terrorists will move on to other places where regime change was more successful, like in Libya, where public executions have become a way of life in Sirte. Terrorism like this cannot be fought with weapons alone. It is the ideology that needs to be defeated. The funding of radicalism has to be cut off.
The issue of terrorism is very complicated, it’s related to the ideology. How can you be tough against the ideology of ISIS? That is the question. How can you be tough regarding their economy, how they offer money and donations? How can you deal with that? Military toughness, it is not enough.
The President of Syria Bashar al-Assad makes a bold case for his national sovereignty, a convincing case that cooperation against terrorism is in everybody’s interests, and a hopeful message that the people of Syria, who have lived through a bad war, because no war is a good war, will return to peace after the proxy rebels and terrorists funded by outside forces are defeated or cut off.
INTERVIEWER: How do you think history will remember you?
ASSAD: I hope history will see me as the man who protected his country from terrorim, from the intervention, and saved it’s sovereignty and it’s land