Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has opened up the Foreign and Expatriates Minister Conference with a speech clarifying Syria’s position in respect of internal and international developments at a time when the fight against terrorism in Syria continues to be won by Syria and its partners.
During the speech, President al-Assad put to rest persistent rumours that Turkey is engaged in a process of reconciliation with Syria after Ankara quietly withdrew support for opponents of the Syrian government after years of funding, arming and fighting beside such groups in an illegal military operation against Syria.
While Turkey continues to grow closer to both Russia and Iran, two countries which have always supported the territorial integrity of Syria and the anti-terrorist campaign of the Syrian government, many suggested that Turkey might be reconciling relations with Damascus.
President al-Assad put an end to these rumours in saying the following,
“Erdogan is playing the role of political beggar after his support for terrorists was exposed. We don’t consider the Turkish side to be a partner nor a guarantor nor do we trust it”.
President al-Assad further stated that any Turkish soldier on Syrian soil will continue to be considered an attacker.
This confirms what I recently stated in The Duran,
“…some are speculating that Turkey’s move to withdraw support for Syria’s anti-government forces is designed to pave the way for eventual reconciliation with the Syrian government. The Syrian government and moreover many Syrian civilians will not be quick to forgive Turkey for a role in the Syrian conflict viewed as destructive. Because it is now a certainty that the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party will remain in power in Damascus, Turkey will likely eventually have to engage in a thaw with the Syrian government simply because Syria is a neighbour to Turkey, but this road may be long”.
In this sense, the idea that Syria would immediately reconcile itself with Ankara was always far fetched given the fact that Turkey is considered a primary aggressor and ally of terrorism among Syrians.
It is also clear that as both Presidents Erdogan and al-Assad are likely to remain in power in their respective countries for a considerable amount of time, they may eventually have to speak to each other at some level. This will likely begin through quiet diplomatic communications being established between Damascus and Ankara, but even this is a long way off.
While Iran and Russia have accepted Turkey’s geo-political/geo-strategic pivot to Eurasia, Syria which has suffered from illegal Turkish occupation and brutal war will not be so quick to forgive and forget, not least because Syria has much more that would have to be forgiven and forgotten than is the case for either Iran or Russia.
During his speech, President al-Assad also slammed continued western desires to divide Syria or continue to thrust sectarian violence upon the country. The Syiran President stated,
“Sectarian rhetoric was transient, and what’s on tongues is not important; what’s important is what is in the hearts. If this divisive aspect that we hear about now in different parts of our society was in the hearts, then Syria would have fallen a long time ago, and the civil war that they talk about in Western media and that they tried to convince us about would have been a fait accompli”.
He also said,
“We are not in a state of isolation as they think, but this state of arrogance makes them think in that way. There will be no security cooperation or opening of embassies or role for some states that say they are looking for a solution until they cut off their ties with terrorism in a clear and unambiguous way.
We will not allow enemies and rivals to achieve through politics what they failed to achieve through terrorism. We must work seriously from now to build the future Syria on solid bases.
Everything related to the destiny and future of Syria is a one hundred percent Syrian issue, and the unity of Syrian territory is self-evident and not up for debate or discussion”.
During his speech, President al-Assad stated that Syria will never allow western ‘snakes’ to divide Syria artificially and while the war is nearing an end, the fight against terrorism must continue until victory is achieved in full. He thanked Russia, Iran and Hezbollah for their friendship to Syria and their assistance in the fight against Salafist terrorism.
The Syrian President further stated that Syria will remain committed to the Arabist idea which is inherent in secular, anti-sectarian Ba’athism, but that Syria will always give full citizenship rights to non-Arab citizens.
Bashar al-Assad also reiterated Syria’s commitment to fighting Israeli occupation of Syrian territory and that to this end, Syria will remain a perennial supporter of Palestine.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.