Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Britain and France have neither the will nor the vision on how to defeat terrorism and their airstrikes against ISIL will yield no results, but will rather be illegal and harmful.
“We know from the very beginning that Britain and France were the spearheads in supporting the terrorists in Syria. We know that they don’t have that will, even if we want to go back to the chapter on military participation with the coalition, it has to be comprehensive. It is legal only when the participation is in cooperation with the legitimate government in Syria. So, they don’t have the will and vision on how to defeat terrorism,” Assad said in an interview with The Sunday Times.
He said of the British involvement in airstrikes against ISIL in Syria: “first they will not give any results. Second, it will be harmful and illegal, and it will support terrorism as what happened after the coalition started its operation a year or so, because this is like a cancer. You cannot cut the cancer. You have to extract it. This kind of operation is like cutting the cancer that will make it spread in the body faster.”
He also pointed out the ISIL won’t be defeated by airstrikes only, there should be also foots on ground, wondering whether US achieved anything in its airstrikes in Iraq and Afghanistan!
President Assad hailed the Russian involvement in Syrian war against terrorism, saying “look at the Russians, when they wanted to make this alliance against terrorism, the first thing they did was they started discussions with the Syrian government before anyone else. Then they started discussing the same issue with other governments. Then they came. So, this is the legal way to combat any terrorist around the world.”
“The Russians want to protect Syria, Iraq, the region, themselves and even Europe,” he said.
Nusra, ISIL Two Faces of one Coin
Answering a question on Al-Nusra front whether it poses an equal or a greater long-term threat to the West than ISIL, Assad said there is no difference because they have the same ideology. “If we want to talk about their grassroots, their followers, their members, you cannot have this distinction, because they move from one organization or one group to another. And that is why sometimes they fight with each other. But in reality they are cooperating with each other on every level. So, you cannot tell which is more dangerous because this is one mentality.”
President Assad rebuffed Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron’s claims that there was “70 thousand moderate rebels don’t belong to extremist groups,” saying this was a new episode in a long series of ‘Cameron’s classical farce’. “In order not to say I am just giving excuses and so on, go back to the internet, go back to the social networking sites. They uploaded their atrocities’ videos and pictures, with their faces and their rhetoric. They use swords, they do beheadings; they ate the heart of a dismembered innocent person and so on,” the Syrian President assured.
The President warned that the Syrian government will use any means available to protect the country’s airspace. “Any air defense we have is for that reason… that is our right,” he added.