Friday, January 18, 2019 | ePaper

Assad denies Russia makes decisions for him

  • Print


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad given an interview with British newspaper the Mail on Sunday.

Reuters, Beirut :
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denied that military ally Russia was making decisions for him, but said it was natural for there to be differences of opinion between allies, in an interview published on Sunday by state media.
In an interview with British newspaper the Mail on Sunday, carried in full by Syrian state news agency SANA, Assad was responding to a question about whether Moscow now controls Syria's diplomatic and military moves.
"They (the Russians) never, during our relation, try to dictate, even if there are differences," he said, according to SANA's transcript of the interview, given in English.
"It's natural to have differences between the different parties, whether within our government or other governments; Russia-Syria, Syria-Iran, Iran-Russia, and within these governments, that's very natural, but at the end the only decision about what's going on in Syria and what's going to happen, it's a Syrian decision," Assad said.
Iranian and Russian support has been critical to Assad's war effort, but the different agendas of Assad's allies in Syria have become more apparent of late as Israel presses Russia to make sure Iran and its allies do not entrench their military sway in the country.
On Tuesday Reuters reported that a Russian troop deployment in Syria near the Lebanese border had caused friction with Iran-backed forces, in what appeared to be a rare case of Russia acting out of sync with Assad's Iran-backed allies. Recent Russian calls for all non-Syrian forces to leave southern Syria have been seen as aimed partly at Iran, in addition to U.S. forces based in the Tanf area at the Syrian-Iraqi border. In the interview, Assad also said he expects the war in his country to be over in "less than a year" and re-stated his aim to take back "every inch" of Syria.
He said the involvement of foreign powers such as Britain, the United States and France was prolonging the conflict and had slowed down a resolution to the situation in rebel-held areas of southwestern Syria.
In recent months Syrian government and allied forces have taken back the last besieged opposition area in Syria, north of Homs, and crushed the last rebel pockets near the capital.
Damascus has now set its sights on the opposition-held parts of southwestern Syria which border Israel and Jordan.
"We were about to achieve reconciliation in the southern part of Syria only two weeks ago, but the West interfered and asked the terrorists not to follow this path in order to prolong the Syrian conflict," Assad said. The Syrian government refers to all groups opposed to its rule as terrorists.
The United States wants to preserve a "de-escalation" zone agreed last year with Russia and Jordan that has contained fighting in that area. Assad wants to being the area back under state control.

More News For this Category

Taiwan holds live-fire exercises following China threats

Taiwan holds live-fire exercises following China threats

AP, Hsinchu :Taiwan held live-fire exercises along its east coast Thursday amid renewed threats from China to bring the island under its control by force if deemed necessary.Artillery and assault

'Stupid' to suggest Trump a Russian agent: Putin's top aide

'Stupid' to suggest Trump a Russian agent: Putin's top aide

AFP, Moscow :A top Kremlin aide on Wednesday dismissed as ridiculous claims that US President Donald Trump has acted as an agent for Russia amid mounting controversy over his alleged

Vietnam prepares for Kim Jong Un visit amid talks of second summit with Trump

Vietnam prepares for Kim Jong Un visit amid talks of second summit with Trump

Reuters, Hanoi  :Hanoi is preparing to receive North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a state visit, two sources told Reuters, while officials and diplomats said Vietnam is keen to

Sudan protests rumble on as Bashir remains defiant

Sudan protests rumble on as Bashir remains defiant

AFP, Khartoum :One month after protests erupted across Sudan against rising bread prices, anti-government demonstrations have turned into daily rallies against a defiant President Omar al-Bashir who has rejected calls

Putin to receive a rock star welcome in Belgrade

Putin to receive a rock star welcome in Belgrade

AFP, Belgrade :With T-shirts, mugs and murals bearing his face, Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to receive a rock star welcome on Thursday when he lands in Serbia, Moscow's

News In Brief

German justice minister backs second Brexit referendumReuters, Berlin A second referendum on Britain's exit from the European Union would make sense, German Justice Minister Katarina Barley told a German broadcaster

US eyes Taiwan risk as China's military capabilities grow

US eyes Taiwan risk as China's military capabilities grow

Reuters, Washington  :The United States is closely watching Chinese intentions toward Taiwan, concerned that Beijing's growing military prowess may increase the risk it could one day consider bringing the self-ruled

Brexit deadline could be pushed back on UK request: French minister

Brexit deadline could be pushed back on UK request: French minister

AFP, Paris :The European Union could push back the looming March 29 Brexit deadline if London made such a request, France's Europe Minister Nathalie Loiseau said on Wednesday."At the time

Democratic Senator Gillibrand to launch 2020 White House bid

Democratic Senator Gillibrand to launch 2020 White House bid

Democratic US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, an outspoken Donald Trump critic and champion of women's issues including the #MeToo movement, announced Tuesday she was jumping into the 2020 presidential race.Nearly 22

Top Saudi aide fired over Khashoggi murder still wields influence: Report

Top Saudi aide fired over Khashoggi murder still wields influence: Report

Reuters, London :A Saudi royal advisor fired over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi continues to wield influence in Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's inner circle, according to Western, Arab