Damascus, SANA – Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem affirmed that the victory of Syria and Iraq in the war on terrorism is important for all countries of the region and the world, stressing that east of the Euphrates will be the goal after the liberation of Idleb from terrorism.
Al-Moallem’s remarks came during a press conference with Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari in Damascus on Monday.
“The visit of Minister al-Jaafari comes under very important circumstances as the two countries are beginning to feel the sweetness of the victory over terrorism that targeted them, but the steadfastness of their peoples and their solidarity with their armed forces led to victory over terrorism, which will benefit the whole world,” al-Moallem said.
“Imagine if Daesh (ISIS) and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations won in Iraq and Syria; what would happen to Europe, Arab countries and the whole world?” he added.
He affirmed that Idleb – just like any area in the country – will be definitely restored and return to Syrian sovereignty, adding that if the agreement on Idleb is not implemented, the Syrian state will take other options.
Al-Moallem stressed that the Armed Forces in the vicinity of Idleb are ready to eradicate Jabhat al-Nusra, which is on the list of terrorism in the United Nations, from its last hotbed in Syria if the agreement on Idleb is not implemented.
“Because of the presence of Syrian citizens in Idleb, and it is not their fault, we said that the liberation of Idleb with reconciliation is much better than the bloodshed. Syria’s support for the Sochi agreement came from its desire not to shed blood,” al-Moallem said.
Minister al-Moallem said that most of the terrorists in Idleb have relations with the Turkish intelligence, and the Syrian state is waiting for the Russian reaction to what is happening in Idleb, but it will not remain silent about the continuation of the current situation in it if al-Nusra refuses to comply with this agreement.
He pointed out that US-led international coalition, under the pretext of fighting terrorism, has completely destroyed the city of Raqqa, killed thousands of its people by air raids, and transported terrorists from Daesh in convoys protected by US warplanes to the east of Deir Ezzor and the area near the borders with Iraq.
He affirmed that the US is fighting everything in Syria except Daesh, and is investing in terrorism to prolong the crisis and threaten the interests of Syria and Iraq.
On the illegal presence of US forces east of the Euphrates and its actions with the so-called “Kurdish self-administration,” al-Moallem said “all of these actions come within the framework of psychological war and we do not recognize them, do not value them, and the same goes for what is said about US bases. I say with all sincerity: after Idleb, our goal is east of the Euphrates, and our brothers there, whether tribes or the Kurdish brothers, have to decide what they want in the future, under the slogan of the return of Syrian sovereignty to all the Syrian territory, and this is what our people fought for and will not be negligent towards its implementation.
“If they want dialogue, then dialogue will be on clear basis. There is a constitution, there are laws that regulate the relationship, and the Syrian state does not accept any federalism in this region because this is contrary to the constitution. If the Kurdish brothers want to pursue the American promises and the American delusion, this is their business and they have to pay the price. The homeland is paved for them to return, but without delusions, and they have to learn from the lessons of the past decades when they were allied with superpowers and suddenly they were abandoned by these countries. I am here to state that the issue of East Euphrates is vital and cannot be waived. Syria’s decision is to extend its national sovereignty over the entire Syrian geography,” al-Moallem noted.
In response to a question about the possibility of reaching a Russian-Iranian-Turkish understanding regarding the east of the Euphrates along the lines of the Astana platform, al-Moallem said “we still consider Turkey a state that is occupying our territories. Therefore, our armed forces cannot participate with their forces in any operation east of the Euphrates.”
About the opening of Nasib and al-Boukamal border crossings, al-Moallem pointed out that during the past years the terrorists closed these crossings but today Nasib crossing with Jordan was open and al-Boukmal border crossing with Iraq will be re-opened soon.
Answering a question on Syria’s receiving of the S-300 missile system from Russia, al-Moallem stressed that Syria has the right to be more secure against the aggression of the Israeli occupation entity and others, pointing out that “the S-300 system is a defensive weapon and when we say that we are safer with this weapon, this will lead for more security and stability in the region.”
On the necessity of Syria’s return to the Arab League, al-Moallem stressed that Syria has its position in the Arab world and should exercise its Arab role and in this sense, it is responding to any Arab or international initiative, indicating that Iraq was the first state to speak at the League meetings on this subject and many Arab countries are currently support what was put forward by Iraq years ago.
He stressed that the Syrian people struggled for seven and a half years, due to Syria’s commitment to its independent national decision.
“We extend our hands to all in self-confidence. We are now living the outcomes of the victory which will not be completed without the restoration of all Syrian territory, including Idleb, north of Aleppo, and east of the Euphrates,” he said.
The Iraqi minister, in turn, said that “the Syrian-Iraqi relations are historic, solid, and strong, and they will remain so.”
The Iraqi official asserted that nobody can marginalize Syria due to its pivotal role in the region.
“Coordination continues between Syria and Iraq in different domains, particularly in the field of water security, and we have the right to make optimal investment of our water resources,” al-Jaafari noted.
He continued that “closing the crossings between the two states was because of exceptional circumstances due to terrorismm and they will be opened soon.”
“Iraq appreciates Syria’s support to it, and will not allow any foreign interference in its relations with Syria,” al-Jaafari said.
Manar al-Freih / Hazem Sabbagh