Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's recent statements have attracted wide-spread criticism from Russian circles that accused him of seeking to dodge political obligations.
Not heeding the significance of Russia’s intervention in 2015 about the course of war in Syria, Assad commented on the Iranian presence and stressed that the war in Syria will continue in the direction of the eastern Euphrates region and Idlib.
Assad spoke in an interview with Russia’s state-run news agency RIA Novosti
Displaying clear contrast with Russian public policy on the situation in Syria, Assad downplayed the work of the constitutional committee, a matter which Moscow highly values.
When asked about the moment that symbolizes a turning point during the conflict, Assad pointed out that there are many transformative moments.
“It’s been now nearly ten years since the war started, so we have many turning points that I can mention, not only one,” Assad said.
He, however, confirmed the significance of 2013, the year when, according to Assad, government forces began to liberate a number of areas, especially in central Syria.
“Then in 2014, it was in the other direction when ISIS appeared suddenly with American support and they occupied a very important part of Syria and Iraq at the same time; this is when the terrorists started occupying other areas, because ISIS was able to distract the Syrian Army from fulfilling its mission in liberating the western part of Syria,” the president added.
As though he was belittling the event of Russian forces stepping into Syria, Assad said: “Then the other turning point was when the Russians came to Syria in 2015 and we started liberating together many areas. “
“In that stage, after the Russians came to Syria to support the Syrian Army, I’d say the turning point was to liberate the eastern part of Aleppo; this is where the liberation of other areas in Syria started from that point.”
When asked about the war ending in Syria, Assad said: “No, definitely not. As long as you have terrorists occupying some areas of our country and committing different kinds of crimes and assassinations and other crimes, it’s not over, and I think their supervisors are keen to make it continue for a long time. That’s what we believe.”
There is a gap between Assad’s statement and the Russian vision for developments in Syria, which leans more towards a political settlement for the conflict.