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Sunday, October 30, 2011
President al-Assad to Rossiya 1 TV: Any Consideration of Aggression Against Syria Will Be More Costly than the World Could Afford

President al-Assad to Rossiya 1 TV: Any Consideration of Aggression Against
Syria Will Be More Costly than the World Could Afford
Oct 31, 2011

DAMASCUS, (SANA) – In an interview with Russia's Rossiya 1 TV channel on
Sunday, President Bashar al-Assad discussed developments in Syria and the
region, Syria's efforts to emerge from the crisis, the dangers and
repercussions of any aggression against Syria or interference in its
internal affairs, relations with Russia, and western sanctions.

Regarding the likelihood of the west waging an aggression against Syria and
the idea that western military action against Syria is preplanned, President
al-Assad said that the claims regarding the possibility of a western
aggression against Syria is heard from time to time, particularly during
crises between Syria and western countries within the past few decades, and
that these claims aim at pressuring Syria to change its political stances.

President al-Assad said that Syria takes all possibilities into
consideration even if this issue isn't discussed in the media through leaks,
noting that when the homeland is threatened in a military or security
fashion, then the balance of power – who is stronger and who is weaker – has
no value, adding "if you as a country represent a small and weak country and
the enemy is big and strong, it's natural to defend the homeland regardless
of balance."

He pointed out that others' considerations regarding the scenario of
aggression against Syria aren't easy, and that Syria has a unique position
in geographic, geopolitical, historic and other terms, as Syria is the
meeting place of all or most the cultural, religious, sectarian and ethnic
components of the Middle East.

President al-Assad elaborated by saying that Syria is the meeting place of
two "tectonic plates" and that any attempt to destabilize these plates will
lead to a massive earthquake that damages the entire region and affects the
whole world, adding that any mention of such a scenario would be more costly
than the world could afford, which is why it seems that the trend is moving
towards political, political and economic pressure.

His Excellency said that there is no doubt that that Syria is counting on
Russia, primarily because of the historic relations between the two
countries and because Syria is a superpower and a permanent Security Council
member, pointing out that Syria played an important role since the first
days of the crisis and that the two governments were communicating directly,
with the Syrian government explaining to Russia the details of the situation
based on Syria's importance and influence in terms of the situation in the
Middle East and the region.

"Russia knew the dangers of the attempts at foreign interference in Syria,
thus Russia played an important role in the international arena, with the
most recent action in this regard being the Russian veto at the Security
Council," he said, adding that Syria is counting on the Russian stance and
continuing support not just in defense of Syria, but also in defense of
worldwide stability.

In response to a question on a Communist opposition figure thanking Russia
for its veto while others burned Russian flags in Syrian cities, President
al-Assad said regarding the first point that any Syrian citizen would have
the same response as anyone with the least amount of patriotism would be
grateful for Russia's stance at the Security Council, adding that being in
the opposition or a loyalist or somewhere in between doesn't mean differing
in political issues, as there is no difference in opinion with the
opposition regarding Syria's sovereignty and rejection of foreign
interference and confronting terrorism; the differences lie in internal
issues and political, economic, cultural and other issues.

"Regarding the burning of flags, I don't believe we can put that in the
frame of political work as it doesn't represent opposition or anything else.
It often represents individual cases that may be spurred from abroad to
complete the media image of the big lie being promoted about Syria in
foreign media, showing Russia as if it supports a state against the people…
this is the supposed media game behind this action," President al-Assad
pointed out.

On the subject of who is represented by the opposition, President al-Assad
said that such an issue would be more accurate after elections and the
emergence of new parties, which would decide which sections of the society
the opposition represents.

"We're dealing with everyone; with all the forces on the Syrian arena
because we believe that communication with these forces is very important,
without specifying who has a popular base and who doesn’t," President
al-Assad said, stressing that a more accurate answer can be given after the
elections which should take place in February 2012.

Answering a question on national dialogue, organizing elections and the
establishment of a council in Istanbul by the opposition with their
unwillingness to hold negotiations with the authorities, and whether there
is a way to reach a peaceful agreement with them, President al-Assad said
"The first thing is that in order to hold a dialogue you need more than one
side, the other side should be able to hold dialogue… The other thing is
that in order to hold political or formal dialogue with a side, there must
be bases from which to start."

President al-Assad asked "Are the forces we are willing to hold dialogue
with accepted by the Syrian people? Are they manufactured abroad? Do they
call for or accept foreign interference? Do they support terrorism? When we
define all these bases, we can decide whether we hold dialogue or not."

His Excellency stressed that the Syrian people reject foreign interference
and oppose anything which come from outside the country, be it a political
issue or stance.

"About the council that was formed in Istanbul, I don't know a lot about it,
but I can say that the accurate answer of this question comes from the
Syrian people. When the Syrian people accept a council or a particular
political structure, we as a state should hold dialogue with it," President
al-Assad indicated.

"As for the principle of accepting or rejecting dialogue or heading toward
violence, I think the proper principle is adopting dialogue because it leads
to solutions that stabilize any country. That is why we don't comment a lot
on that council, because the Syrian people didn't care about it… When the
Syrians consider a thing, the Syrian government will, subsequently, take it
into consideration," President al-Assad added.

On whether Syria will remain strong in the face of the economic sanctions
imposed by the west and the US and regarding the Russian aid in this matter,
President al-Assad pointed out that this siege, and particularly the
economic and technical blockade, on Syria is decades old and isn't new,
saying "I don't recall any period in which there weren't under some sort of
western blockade on Syria, but this blockade intensifies during crises,
which is why we decided six years ago – in 2005 – to head towards the east."

President al-Assad pointed out that the western sanctions and blockade
primarily harm the Syrian people, not the state, but they will not smother
Syria which relies on its own products and exports. "Syria has food and
industrial production in addition to many other domains. As for the other
materials that are not produced in Syria, we have neighboring countries. We
are capable of overcoming this blockade by adjusting to the new status,
which we'd already adjusted to in previous circumstances," he elaborated.

About heading eastwards, President al-Assad said that Syria had always has
relations with the west during recent decades despite the fact that the
west, particularly France and the UK, was occupying a part of the east.

"Syria, Russia, India and China are east. There are many countries that have
good relations with Syria whether in the east, in Latin America or in Asia.
There are rising powers In Asia, such as, India, China and Russia which are
playing an important worldwide role in the political, economic and technical
fields. The west is not the only choice we have, and we must take advantage
of our relations with these countries. Syrian-Russian relations, for
example, were improved in rapid paces after 2005 when we decided to head
eastwards. I think this crisis will further boost these relations,
especially in the economic domain. We count on our relation with Russia and
the Russian aid in the political aspects and the Russian-Syrian economic

On the attempt of Syria's enemies to repeat the Libyan scenario in Syria and
the Syrian plan to prevent that, President al-Assad said that Syria is
different geographically, demographically, politically and historically from
Libya, adding that such a scenario will be unviable and of exorbitant cost.

"First, a media was used to forge an external state against Syria,
especially in the Security Council. At that time, we were focusing on the
internal aspect because it was not easy to show that there was an external
plot, even to some Syrians. It was not easy to show that there were armed
operations perpetrated against the state. Now, we have hundreds of army
soldiers, policemen and security personnel killed," President al-Assad said.

President al-Assad asked "Were they killed through peaceful protests? Were
they killed by the shouting during the protests? Or were they killed by
weapons? So, we're are dealing with armed people, now the matter is clear
and the Syrian people are now aware of the reality of the events in Syria.

"In the last two months, we've begun to focus on the external media, we've
invited a large number of mass media establishments to come to Syria and
inspect the reality of the events. The western media channels are biased in
general not only during crises; they have a wrong preconceived notions and
sometimes they express political agendas concerning the region," President
al-Assad said.

President al-Assad pointed out that "We are now trying to bring western
media to inspect the reality but we are focusing on the friendly media to
enable them to inspect and convey the image to their public in order for
their governments to be able to take supportive stances regarding Syria. I
think the basic direction now is towards media; we have to unmask the
external plot against Syria and, and at the same time help these countries
in aiding the local media."

On whether there are sides assisting Syria's enemies and the amount and
sources of weapons at the disposal of these enemies, President al-Assad
pointed out that during the first few months and particularly the first
month of the crisis, it was difficult to find out the reality of what was
happening and where the money or weapons was coming from, or even if there
were actually money and weapons.

"After more than seven months since the crisis in Syria began, we gathered
clean but incomplete information, but through recent investigations with
terrorist it became irrefutably clear that weapons were being smuggled
across the Syrian borders from neighboring countries and funds are being
sent from people abroad… We have information about people leading these
operations outside Syria and in several countries.

"We don't have precise information about these people's relations to
countries, but it's perfectly clear from the quality and scale of weapons
and the amounts of money that the funding isn't personal funding; rather
there are countries behind this funding," President al-Assad said, adding
that specifying the countries responsible for this funding requires clearer
information, at which point Syria's won't hesitate to uncover the facts.

Regarding the source of weapons and ammunition, particularly Israeli
explosives, President al-Assad said that there are weapons from various
countries including weapons of Israeli manufacture, but it's impossible to
pinpoint if their source is Israel or another country that possesses such

"There are bombs and mines placed in areas with civilians and may target
civilians sometimes and they may target security forces or the police or the
army… there are also-anti-tank weapons which is new and serious… so all
things point to the fact that there are countries responsible for armament
and not individuals who may actually be fronts for these countries.

"Where do the weapons come from… from neighboring countries… despite that
fact we cannot accuse them of being involved in the smuggling as it's
difficult to control borders with surrounding countries, which applies in
most countries around the world," President al-Assad explained.

His Excellency concluded by thanking the Russian channel, saying that he
believes that this program will play an important role in relaying the
reality to the Russian viewer about what is happening in the world and the
Middle East, and specifically what is happening in Syria.

M. Nassr / H. Sabbagh

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