In an exclusive interview with Greek newspaper Kathimerini, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad explained his country’s position on chemical weapons explicitly (“we gave it up in 2013”), his case for why he thinks the alleged chemical attack in Douma was ‘fake’, and his current distaste for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump.
The full text of the interview is published on Kathimerini’s website.
In the sit down interview, Assad also responded to President Trump’s recent tweet storm calling him “Animal Assad” just days before the U.S. and its allies launched an unprovoked missile attack on Syria:
“Actually, when you are president of a country, you have first of all to represent the morals of your people before representing your own morals. You are representing your country. Does this language represent the American culture? That is the question. This is very bad, and I don’t think so. I don’t think there’s a community in the world that has such language. Second, the good thing about Trump is that he expresses himself in a very transparent way, which is very good in that regard. Personally, I don’t care, because I deal with the situation as a politician, as a president. It doesn’t matter for me personally; what matters is whether something would affect me, would affect my country, our war, the terrorists, and the atmosphere that we are living in.”
Assad addressed the ‘alleged’ chemical attack in Douma, calling out specifically the White Helmets and the British Foreign Office:
“That’s the question, because the side who said – allegedly – that there was a chemical attack, had to prove that there was an attack. We have two scenarios: Either the terrorists had chemical weapons and they used them intentionally, or maybe there were explosions or something, or there was no attack at all, because in all the investigations in Douma, people said, “We didn’t have any chemical attack, we didn’t see any chemical gas or smell any,” and so on. So, we don’t have any indications about what happened. The Western narrative is about that, so that question should be directed at the Western officials who said there was an attack. We should ask them: Where is your concrete evidence about what happened? They only talk about reports. Reports could be allegations. Videos by the White Helmets – the White Helmets are funded by the British Foreign Office – and so on.”
Assad added that he didn’t believe Trump is in control of his own country, and that the ‘deep state’ is setting the agenda designed to create ongoing conflict, especially with Russia. When asked about whether he would meet with Trump, and what he would hope to accomplish, Assad has this to say:
“The first question you should ask is: What can you achieve? The other: What can we achieve with someone who says something before the campaign, and does the opposite after the campaign, who says something today, and does the opposite tomorrow, or maybe in the same day? So, it’s about consistency. Do they have the same frequency every day, or the same algorithm? So, I don’t think that in the meantime we can achieve anything with such an administration. A further reason is that we don’t think the president of that regime is in control. We all believe that the deep state, the real state, is in control, or is in control of every president, and that is nothing new. It has always been so in the United States, at least during the last 40 years, at least since Nixon, maybe before, but it’s becoming starker and starker, and the starkest case is Trump.”
On Turkey, Assad called their presence in Syria an “aggression, this is an occupation.” He said we have to distinguish between the Turkish people and President Erdogan, who he believes has a “dark ideology” and is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
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