President Assad: Interview


Bashar al-Assad: “I don’t give up. People say who stays and who should go, not U.S.”

Bashar al-Assad interview with Argentine newspaper Clarin: “I don’t give up. People say who stays and who should go, not U.S.”

President al-Assad: 'Basis for Any Political Solution for Crisis in Syria is What the Syrian People Want'

May 18, 2013 – DAMASCUS

President Bashar al-Assad affirmed that the basis for any political solution for the crisis in Syria is what the Syrian people want, which is decided through ballots, saying that Syria welcomes the Russian-US rapprochement, voicing Syria’s support for any suggestion which halts violence and leads to a political solution and its readiness to hold dialogue with any Syrian side which didn’t deal with Israel secretly or publically and which rejects terrorism.

In an interview with Argentina’s Clarin newspaper and Telam news agency, President al-Assad said that Israel supports terrorists, directs them and gives them the general plan of their movements according to its interests which intersect with those of several foreign sides including Qatar and Turkey which don’t want a political solution in Syria and which support terrorism.

Following is the full text of the interview:~


What has made the Syrian Crisis so complex and protracted?

Firstly, numerous factors have influenced the Syrian crisis both internally and externally, the most significant of which is foreign interference. Secondly, the calculations of confrontational states that intervened in Syria have now proven incorrect. These states perceived their plan would succeed within weeks or months; this has not materialized. What has transpired is that the Syrian people have resisted, and continue to resist and reject all forms of external intervention. For us, it is a matter of safeguarding Syria.~


What is the total number of fallen victims in the crisis so far? Some sources report that the numbers exceed 70.000 people.

The death of any Syrian is a tragic loss, regardless of the numbers; but one has to examine the credibility of these sources. We cannot ignore the fact that many of those that have died were foreigners who came to Syria to kill Syrians. There are also many missing who have been accounted for as dead without real authenticity. This affects the accuracy of the quoted numbers of the death toll. How many are Syrians? How many are foreigners? How many are missing? At present, there is no precise comprehensive number to quote. These numbers are constantly changing. Terrorists kill people and often put them in mass graves. We can only discover and account for those losses after the Syrian army goes into these areas.



On this note, has excessive force been used by the government throughout the conflict?

Here it is imperative to determine the meaning of “excessive force” in order to determine whether it has been used or not. Without a clear criterion to this notion, it is inconceivable to discuss the concept.

The response of the state generally amounts to the level of terrorism perpetrated against it. With more sophisticated levels of terrorism, our response to those threats intensifies.


At the beginning of the crisis, acts of terror were carried out by local groups using local armaments. With time, these armed groups were able to source more sophisticated and destructive weaponry and fighters, which allowed them to carry out terrorist acts on a much wider scale. This warranted a similar response from the Syrian army and security forces. The response in each scenario differs according to the form or methods of terror adopted by the terrorists and in a way to repel an area from terrorist insurgents whilst protecting civilian lives.

Therefore, the factors that determine our level of force relate to the types of weapons and terrorism techniques we are dealing with as well as our ultimate goal of protecting the lives of civilians and the country as a whole.



At the start of the crisis, there were some foreigner fighters. It has been two years into the crisis now; do you believe that dialogue could have prevented foreign intervention and the involvement of the crisis into its current shape?

It was seemingly apparent at the beginning that demands were for reforms. It was utilized to appear as if the crisis was a matter of political reform. Indeed, we pursued a policy of wide scale reforms from changing the constitution to many of the legislations and laws, including lifting the state of emergency law, and embarking on a national dialogue with all political opposition groups. It was striking that with every step we took in the reform process, the level of terrorism escalated.

This ultimately begs the question: what is the relationship between demanding reforms and adopting terrorism? Terrorism can never be the instrument to achieve reforms. What interest does an internationally listed terrorist from Chechnya or Afghanistan have with the internal political reform process in Syria? How is the legitimate demand for reform linked with terrorist activities adopted by radicalized foreign fighters? The same context applies to those external fighters from Iraq, Lebanon and others. Recent credible reports show that there are approximately 29 nationalities of foreign fighters engaged in terrorism activities within Syria’s borders.

We were staunchly committed to political reforms and have implemented them, and we have presented a broad political initiative based on a national dialogue. The essence of any political solution is the aspirations of the Syrian people, decided by the ballot boxes. States do not negotiate with terrorists. However dialogue with the political opposition has been a fundamental policy of ours, which we remain deeply committed to.

Terrorism struck in countries from the United States to Europe. Have these states ever negotiated with terrorists? Dialogue is with legitimate political entities and a conventional opposition, not with terrorist groups who maintain a code of killing, beheading and administering violence including the use of poisonous gas, which amounts to chemical weapons.


Mr. President, would these reforms bring about genuine democratic representation of the Syrian people including freedom of press and expression?

You may be aware that there is a new media law already established amongst the recent reforms adopted. We aimed at an ultimately more comprehensive process; we envisioned a national dialogue for all political entities, which would then act as a pre-requisite for a unified national charter and a new constitution with a wider range of freedoms, including political and media freedom. This new constitution would then be put to a referendum.

Freedom of press and political freedom are two inextricably intertwined concepts, which reinforce and supplement each other, the pursuit of one is impotent without the other, they must both work in tandem with each other.


Your Excellency always emphasize that the key to resolving the crisis is dialogue, which is most agreeable. How do you see the conference proposed at the end of this month in light of the initial agreement between the USA and Russia? How do you evaluate this process especially with the interference of France and UK?

We reiterate our support for all steps that would entail stopping the violence in Syria and lead to a political solution. However, the cessation of violence is paramount to reaching a political settlement.

We welcome the Russian-American rapprochement and support its potentiality of being a platform to facilitate the resolution of the Syrian crisis. We do remain skeptical of the genuine intentions of certain western administrations towards seeking a realistic political solution in Syria. This caution is based on their continued support of terrorist groups in Syria. We are dedicated to pursuing a political solution, yet there are powers who are pressing for the failure of such a solution. This is a two-way process; it needs commitment from all sides.


Are these doubts related to opposition entities or to certain countries and major international players that are hindering a political solution in Syria?

Essentially, some foreign-based opposition elements that you mentioned are far from autonomous independent decision makers, their policies are crafted by the countries that give them leverage. These opposition segments survive on the aid given to them by their patron states, in essence manipulated by the nations that provide their flow of finance. They live under the auspice and control of their intelligence agencies and thus submit to what is imposed upon them. Therefore their decisions are not self-governing; most significantly, they lack a popular base in Syria. If they believed that they had public support, they would have functioned politically from within Syria’s borders, not extrinsically from abroad. We do currently have internal political opposition parties based from within, enjoying varying levels of popular intrinsic support. The Syrian government has not intimidated or been hostile to these internal political entities.

Subsequently, the resonant question here is: what justifies the presence of parts of the opposition abroad, except for the notion that they are led by external agendas? In short, are we skeptical of both these opposition groups and the countries supporting them, they are very closely linked. Importantly, these are not doubts; it is a well-documented fact that they have until last week clearly and repeatedly rejected political dialogue.

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