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Rudaw

Syria

Assad: we do not have a veto on any Kurdish demand

By RÛDAW 16/9/2015
Bashar al-Assad. Photo: Syrian presidency.
Bashar al-Assad. Photo: Syrian presidency.

LONDON – Embattled President Bashar al-Assad says Kurdish demands in Syria can be discussed after uniting to defeat Islamic extremists, promising he is open to any proposal as long as the country’s territorial integrity remains intact.

“We should unite in order to fight ISIS,” he said in an interview with Russian reporters that was widely published and broadcast by Russian media.

“After we defeat ISIS, al-Nusra and the terrorists (Syrian opposition groups), the Kurdish demands expressed by certain parties can be discussed nationally,” he said.

“There’s no problem with that. We do not have a veto on any demand as long as it is within the framework of Syria’s unity and the unity of the Syrian people and territory,” he said, denying Damascus had any “state policy concerning the Kurds.”

Syria’s Kurds control a self-declared autonomous enclave in the country’s Kurdish regions, or Rojava. They favor a federal system in which different groups can co-exist. That proposal has been opposed by Turkey, which is loath to having an autonomous Syrian enclave on its border, next to its own restive Kurdish-populated areas.

“For us, the Kurds are part of the Syrian fabric,” Assad stated. “So, are they our allies today? No, they are patriotic people,” he said.

“There are Kurds who are integrated fully into society, and I would like to stress that they are not allies at this stage, as some people would like to show,” Assad said, placing a distance with the PYD party that controls Rojava. The PYD has long denied allegations it is secretly supported by Assad’s regime.

Commenting on other issues in the wide-ranging interview, Assad said Damascus was cooperating with Iran and Russia in fighting “terrorism,” but blasted the US-led coalition for its work.

“Also, we are cooperating with Iraq because it faces the same type of terrorism. As for other countries, we have no veto on any country provided that it has the will to fight terrorism and not as they are doing in what is called “the international coalition” led by the United States,” he said.

The United States has opposed Russian cooperation with Assad’s regime and a recent military build-up that includes Russian T-90 tanks, artillery and 200 Russian naval units positioned at an airfield in the port city of Latakia.

US officials accuse Russia of aiming to strengthen its long-time ally, Assad, instead of seeking a transition to a new political leadership.

Assad, meanwhile, accused Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and “some Western countries” of supporting terrorism – a reference to aid or logistical support given to jihadi groups.

“Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan, who pretend to be part of a coalition against terrorism in northern Syria, actually support terrorism in the south, the north and the northwest, virtually in the same regions in which they are supposed to be fighting terrorism,” Assad alleged.

“When they fight against terrorism, we will cooperate with them,” he added.

He was also very critical of European governments for supporting what they see as “moderate” groups in Syria that are fighting against his regime. “All these groups in Syria are extremists,” he warned.

Assad directed his harshest words for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for “Turkish logistical support” to Islamist groups using Turkey as a springboard for “jihad” in Syria.

He also criticized Western countries for their stance on an ongoing refugee crisis in Europe, where a deluge of Syrians fleeing war has poured in.   

The Syrian war, now in its fifth year, has produced the largest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

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Turk 4 Kurdistan | 16/9/2015
I hope that kurds get their own state in Syria, Turkey and Iran. But you should work together for a greater Kurdistan with KRG included. Please leave Islam and build on socialist and democratic ground. This comes from a turk and i voted for HDP.
Coastline needed badly | 16/9/2015
Alawite kurdish Assyria all the way to Iran, they get some oil we get some coastline in return.
Kurdish Patriot | 16/9/2015
And here we have it ladies and gentlemen...the truth on a plate. Assad speaks the truth. There is no more denying the truth. ISIS has always been supported by all the countries he mentioned, including Saudi Arabia!! 🐪Jordan!!🐫, Turkey!! 👺💩, Qatar!!🐪💩, and all rest of Arab countries who opposes Iran (Shiite) and have had strong connections The West EU countries and U.S. Government including the President Obama M'Barak bin Laden ( The secret Moslem terrorist who drinks with the White Americans and plays golf just to blend in...Obama the ISIS and Turkey supporter who refuses to name Kurds, refuses to invite it's Kurdish leader to international conferences with regards to defeating ISIS, refuses to arm Kurds who are the only effective foot soldiers fighting ISIS. Now one thing that makes this war so strange...why has it taken so long for them to defeat ISIS, and yet it didn't as long to remove Saddam and his whole army and terrorist network? This is clearly a war game of cat and mouse, which is real diversion whilst billions and billions of oil money is being stolen from both Iraq and Syria with the help of ISIS...now you tell me why ISIS is really there???? Two advantages: for both The Western countries and Turkey whilst Arab shithead Wahhabis and Islamic extremist criminals and crack heads from around the world get used and killed!! The main targets of course are Kurds, Ezidi Kurds especially and Christians, which the west has lost interest in...shame on these countries!! All for oil. Yeah Oil 4 Blood & genocidal countries
Azad | 16/9/2015
I can already imagine whats going to happen to rojava after isis is gone once asad gains momentum.
Howraman | 16/9/2015
Both his father and himself have done enough harm to the Kurdish people. He is buying more sweet time and hopes the situation changes and then he will declare Holy war against the Kurds like his allies, the Iranian Ayatollahs, who issued Holy War Against the Kurdish region in 1980s. At his weakest time, he is worried about the territorial integrity of Syria not the Kurds. Mr. Assad what if the Kurds in Syria want to separate and deviance you and your racist and fascist policies and live freely since we have not given consent to be part of any of the neighbouring countries.
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