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Interview: Syrian political commentator Afraa Dagher on ‘de-escalation zones’

ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN - MAY 04: Russian President Putin's special envoy to Syria Alexander Lavrentiev, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and Iranian deputy foreign minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari attend a signing of a memorandum to establish de-escalation zones in Syria during the fourth round of Syria peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan on May 04, 2017. (Photo by Aliia Raimbekova/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The Duran’s Adam Garrie recently asked Syrian political commentator Afraa Dagher about her views on the recent Astana Memorandum authorising the creation of so-called de-escalation zones/safe zones.

AG: The Astana Group released a memorandum calling for the creation of so-called Safe Zones in Syria. Many says these zones will allow the Syrian led anti-terrorist coalition to disarm or terminate terrorists though others fear they could evolve into US style no-fly zones that could allow terrorists to colonise parts of Syria.

 What is your reaction to this?
 
AD: For Syrians, we know and trust the intention and strong desire of our government which is keen to wind down the  conflict and to be more accurate,  the war. The main goal of the Syrian government is to stop the bloodshed in the country. However at the same time, we believe also that the alleged presence of so called “Moderate Rebels” in Syria is a phantom.  In reality we have the superpower that is the US which has been backing armed forces under the guise of  being”moderate”. The new US President Donald Trump’s first military aggression was against Syria, specifically the airbase, under the pretext of the alleged chemical attacks on Idlib, which is a well known terrorist stronghold, not a government stronghold.

You can see that America wants escalation of the war on Syria and Syrians.  In respect of the de-escalation zones agreements in Syria,  under its guarantors Russia and Iran, who are Syria’s allies, Syria proves yet again that it is willing to stop more war on Syrians.

Ironically, the idea of safe-zones was an old dream of the US and Turkey. They wanted their version of such zones to be established in Syria under a UN mandate. There is no doubt that such zones would be more akin to ‘colonial zones’ than ‘safety zones’.

On Monday May 8th, 2017, Mr Wallid Al-Moallem the Syrian minister of foreign and expatriate affairs, spoke at a conference held about Astana,

“On whether there’s concern about turning de-escalation zones into ‘safe zones’  gradually, Al-Moallem said the two concepts are different, as the latter is about safe zones set up and maintained by the UN which for Syria is unacceptable”.

So in this case, I hope we are going to thwart colonial agendas.

He added that,our army is ready to respond in a decisive manner in case of any violation from the terrorists side.

 AG: Do you think this plan will help Russia to bring Turkey into line or will Turkey still act unilaterally in funding and fighting with terrorists?
 
AD: Turkey has only one agenda, which is to get its hands on some Syrian territories.  You can google videos revealing  how Turkish soldiers are participating in ‘land grabbing’ in Syria, with the help of  so-called “ISIS”.   They are about to finish their border wall in  Idlib province, which is encroaching into legal Syrian territory, with the help of “ISIS”  militants.
 
This has been met with anger from the Syrian inhabitants of Idlib. Women and men are being thrown  out of their land and their houses are going to be annexed to Turkey! Turkey’s pretext  for wall building is defined by Ankara as ”to prevent terrorists smuggling into its land”.The Turks themselves are the terrorists. In this sense, Turkey will never fight itself, it is the real source of terrorism.

AG: Has this move weakened or isolated the United States?
 
AD: The Russian initiative  for this memo seems to be a clever way to stop the blood-soaked  American policy towards Syria, especially now under Trump, who faces internal problems and tries to promote his power and his presidency by opening war on more fronts whether against  Syria or even North Korea!However, the US is not fighting any “ISIS” and the  same goes for  Turkey. They are the real enemies of Syria. The USA along with  Jordan and Israel, worked hard to control the southern border of Syria and  created mutual military rooms in order to restrain Syria’s anti-terrorist efforts. The US goal is to advance towards Deir AlZour which is rich in oil, and which is important for Qatar to supply its oil to Europe across the Syrian Land , which will impact the importance Russian oil for Europe.

This entire war is about influence, you remember the American air strikes on the Syrian military base in Al Therdeh mountain in Deir Al Zour in 2016? Helping  “ISIS”  is the real US agenda and then to occupy this province!

So it is all a dirty game, we all need  to be calm and know how to play it, but never trust the USA.

AG: What do you think of the fact that the terrorists at Astana stormed out of the session when the Memorandum was signed?
 
AD: They are, as you rightly called them, terrorists. So it is normal  that they don’t have any respect for any serious event.  We will witness more internal fighting between these so-called opposition groups, especially between those who are pro-Al Nusra front and the  others who would like to get out of such terrorist  groups. According to the memo, the latter will be classified as  ”moderate”, although they still are what they are–terrorists.
 
AG: Do you think Israel will continue to violate Syrian air space?
 
AD: Israel is the real airbase for “ISIS”. The radical Islamist terrorists  serve the Israeli agenda, they are the guardians of the occupied Golan Heights, which is also rich in oil resources and water. All of that is stolen by Zionist Israel. So why not?
 
AG: Have recent events changed your view of Russia?
 
AD: This war on Syria, brings back the balance of global power to Russia as a reborn superpower. Russia in turn helped Syria to avoid the Libyan scenario,  the Yemeni, the Iraqi ..etc . Russia also needs a quick end to this war.So no, I didn’t change my views on Russia, I understand the big picture.

AG: Could this move isolate Saudi Arabia and Qatar and force their influence out of Syria?
 
AD: Saudi  Arabia and Qatar are war criminals. They destroyed any chance at a united Arab Nation. Their crimes against Syria and Yemen shouldn’t go without punishment in an international court
They are tools and financiers for the western wars against us, so they don’t make their own decisions .

 AG: What do you make of Kurdish reactions to this memorandum?
 
AD: Kurds ..the people who were the  bridge for US to invade the northeast of Syria and to help America build their own airbase in Syria in order to replace the Turkish Incirlik airbase. They are also tools and they seek the partition and division of Syria. Hopefully this memo will thwart their federalisation goal.

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