Al-Moallem: Russian airstrikes were being prepared for months

Walid al-Moallem

Beirut, SANA – Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem said that the Russian airstrikes in Syria were being prepared for months, and that they cannot be linked to the present time.

In a preview of an interview given to al-Mayadeen TV due to be broadcast in full later, al-Moallem said that Russia worked hard to establish an information center in Iraq that involves Russia, Iraq, Syria, and Iran, asserting that this center will serve an important role in exchanging information.

“Without a doubt, Russia will win this race. I have no doubt at all, and the reason behind that is practical and simple: it’s because Russia is coordinating with the Syrian Arab Army, which is the only force in Syria that is confronting terrorism,” he said.

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Al-Moallem went on to say that when military action has coordination on the ground and in the sky, the operations will produce results, noting that the United States on the other hand doesn’t coordinate with Syria, which is why after 9,000 airstrikes against ISIS and more than a year later, the terrorist organization became stronger and more widespread.

Answering a question about making the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry waits until al-Moallem’s meeting with Russian counterpart was over, al-Moallem said Kerry came to interrupt not to meet, adding “Of course I will not meet Kerry without a prior appointment and after the Syrian leadership agrees on holding such meeting.”

Al-Moallem said the Syrians are comfortable for the efforts of Russia’s head of state and the Russian military efforts in Syria, highlighting that the countries which have been conspiring on Syria were shocked when the Russian sorties and air raids in Syria had started.

He underlined that Russia, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, is playing its role in accordance with the UN charter and Moscow respects the sovereignty and independence of all countries.

The Syrian Minister said the UN Security Council issued 3 resolutions on Syria under the 7th chapter and still there were no results on the ground, adding that 70% of terrorism in Syria could have been stopped immediately if the neighboring countries had adhered to these resolutions.

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“Like many of the world’s countries, we have started to lose faith in the UNSC and we would rather rely on our understandings with the Russian Federation. The US and the U.S.-led coalition were not legal and their coalition violated the Syrian sovereignty and the UN Charter and still it was fruitless and caused only more spread of the ISIS,” al-Moallem said, highlighting that the UNSC resolution included the ISIS, Jabhet al-Nusra and all terrorist groups, which are enlisted as terrorist by the UN itself.

On the U.S. stances over the Russian air raids, al-Moallem stressed that the countries which are worried of these raids are the very same ones that have been conspiring on the Syrian people for the past five years; the US, the UK, France, Turkey, KSA and Qatar.

“How can these countries decide whether President al-Assad should stay or step aside for example, I told Kerry that the Syrians are the only side to decide who to lead and what the future of Syria is, all these countries should acknowledge that President al-Assad is the legitimate President of the Syrian Arab republic and the Commander-in-Chief of the Syrian Army and Armed Forces according to the vast majority of the Syrian people,” al-Moallem underscored, adding that Israel is the sole benefiter of the so-called “the Arab Spring” because it is targeting the key armies in the region; the Syrian, Egyptian and Iraqi armies.

Al-Moallem said the Israeli role in the southern region in Syria is known for all and Israel is replicating the acts it had perpetrated in Lebanon and as it is communicating with terrorist organizations and providing them with all their needs, from weapons to logistic help to admitting injured terrorists in its hospitals and above all it has been attacking Syrian military posts after every foiled terrorist attack with the aim of raising the morale of the terrorists.

He reiterated that Turkey has no interests in fighting the ISIS for ideological reasons and is supporting Jabhet al-Nusra and other terrorist organizations for the same reason.

On the possibility of an Iraqi request asking Russia to help Baghdad in fighting terrorism, al-Moallem said the case is similar in Syria and Iraq and if Iraq made such request then Russia will for sure extend help, adding that fighting terrorism in Syria and Iraq is like the “communicating vessels” and that the ISIS will benefit from any lack of coordination between the two countries.

He expressed his faith in achieving victory because the Syrian army is still firm in face of a multi-frontier war against terrorist organizations backed by many countries, and still the army is ready to sacrifice and has the support of almost all the Syrian people, adding that the conspirators are feeling that things are not moving in their favor and that is why they started their hysteric statements and media escalation.
The picture has now started to show that “our friends are increasing in number, while the friends of those who conspired against Syria are fewer,” said al-Moallem, noting that he has met with a number of Western European officials from the EU in Damascus upon those officials’ request.

On the initiative of UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura to form the proposed four working groups, al-Moallem said Syria is waiting for the envoy to come to Damascus and disclose the names of those who are going to be involved in these groups from the other side, stressing that the Syrian side has a long list of experts in every issue.
There is no time limit but there is data, he added, stressing however that if the neighboring countries, especially Turkey and Jordan, would abide by the Security Council’s resolutions of last year and close their borders to infiltrating terrorists, then the fight against terrorism would be “more effective and would open the door to political solution.”

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As for the refugee issue, al-Moallem said while European figures show that the Syrian refugees are only 20 % of the total of refugees going to Europe, “we are keen to have every Syrian citizen remain in Syria.”

He raised question marks over the role Turkey plays in the recent flow of Syrian refugees through its coast towards Greece.

He added that the solution should address the roots of the problem in the first place, whereby the US, European Countries and Turkey should reconsider their policies of supporting the terrorists in destroying the Syrian economy’s infrastructure, a thing that has deprived the Syrian people of employment.

“We said repeatedly that we guarantee the safe return to every Syrian willing to go back, but we have no authority over the camps set up in neighboring countries where some of those countries prevent the Syrians from returning home or forcibly recruit them or send them to Europe if they would decline,” said al-Moallem.

M. Nassr/ Hazem Sabbagh/H. Said

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