President Bashar al-Assad received on Saturday a French delegation, including a number of parliamentarians, intellectuals, and media men, headed by member of the French National Assembly Thierry Mariani.
President al-Assad affirmed that the terrorist attacks which targeted Paris couldn’t be separated from those that took place in Beirut, and what has been happening in Syria since 5 years and in other regions, adding “terrorism is one field in the world and terrorist organizations don’t recognize borders.”
“Wrong polices adopted by western states, particularly France, towards events in the region, and its ignorance of the support of a number of its allies to terrorists are reasons behind the expansion of terrorism,” President al-Assad said, pointing out to the importance of adopting new polices and taking active procedures to stop support for terrorists logistically or politically in order to overcome terrorism.
For their part, members of the visiting delegation underlined that the terrorist attacks in France yesterday proved that there is no state which would be safe from terrorism, expressing belief in the importance of unifying efforts of regional and international sides to combat it and stop this phenomenon which poses threat to the peoples of the region and world.
They showed sympathy with the suffering of the Syrian people who are subjected to a fierce terrorist war, affirming their determination to convey what they have really seen during their visit to Syria in a way that could form a French public opinion, based on realities, not on fabricated images.
In statements to the journalists following the meeting, President al-Assad said, in response to a question about his reaction on what happened in Paris on Friday “First of all, we offer our condolences to the French families that lost dear members yesterday, and we are the closest people to this situation to understand what happened yesterday in France, because we have been suffering from this kind of terrorism for the last five years in Syria.
“And what happened in France yesterday cannot be separated from what happened in Beirut two days ago, because this is terrorism. That’s
why you shouldn’t look at terrorism as separate arenas, like looking at Syria’s arena, Yemen, Libya, France. Actually, it’s one arena all around the world.”
Asked about where the Syrian intelligence services have any indication or information that either the people who committed this act came from Syria or were in contact with any group in Syria, the President said “No, we don’t have any information about what happened, but it’s not about the names, and who went and who didn’t. We warned about what’s going to happen in Europe three years ago, and we said don’t mess with the fault line in Syria. It’s going to be like an earthquake that will reverberate around the world, and unfortunately the European officials didn’t pay attention to what we said. They thought that we are threatening, and they didn’t learn from what happened at the beginning of this year, from Charlie Hebdo.”
He added “Just giving statements that you are against terrorism means nothing. You have to go and fight terrorism, you have to pursue the correct and right policies, that’s what they have to do.”
In his response to a question whether Syria is ready to fight with France against terrorism if they ask and help the French intelligence services, President Assad said “They don’t have to ask; they only have to be serious. This is where we are ready to fight terrorism with them.”
“We are ready to fight terrorism with whoever wants to really fight terrorism, and the French government is not serious yet,” he added.
In a message he was asked to send to the French President Francois Hollande, President al-Assad said “Work for the sake and the interest of your people. And the question that any Frenchman would ask today: did the French policy during the last five years do any good to the French people? Actually, no. So, the first thing I’ll ask is to work for the interest of the French people, and if he wants to do that, he has to change his policy.”
Asked about the condition for the Syrian government and the French government to work together, or for the Syrian intelligence services to work with the French intelligence services, President Assad said “You cannot talk about intelligence cooperation without political cooperation. You cannot talk about intelligence cooperation in order to fight terrorism while at the same time your policies, the policies of the same government, are going in the direction of supporting terrorism. That’s what I meant by being serious.”