News ID: 216459
Published: 0729 GMT June 10, 2018

Assad: West fueling Syria war

Assad: West fueling Syria war
The photo released on June 10, 2018 shows Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad speaking during an interview with the British Daily Mail newspaper.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accused the West of fueling the devastating war in his country, now in its eighth year, with the aim of toppling him.

In an interview with British newspaper the Mail on Sunday, Assad said Western countries have lied about chemical attacks in Syria and supported terrorist groups there, while Russia has supported his government against the foreign "invasion."

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 terrorist-held areas of southwestern Syria.

Assad slammed the United States and British military actions in Syria as "colonial" while praising supporter Russia.

"We've had good relations with Russia for more than six decades now, nearly seven decades. They never, during our relation, try to dictate, even if there are differences," he told the British newspaper.

Assad denied that Russia was making decisions for him, but said it was natural for there to be differences of opinion between allies. The Syrian president 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.

"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.

Russia and Iran have been supporting the Syrian government in its fight against terrorism.

In the interview, Assad also said he expects the war in his country to be over in "less than a year" and restated his aim to take back "every inch" of Syria.

"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.

In recent months, the Syrian government and allied forces have taken back the last terrorist-held area in Syria, north of Homs, and crushed the last pockets of terrorists near the capital.

Damascus has now set its sights on the terrorist-held parts of southwestern Syria.

Reuters, AP and AFP contributed to this story.



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