Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with AP News broadcast on Thursday that the deadly conflict in Syria, now in its sixth year, is going to “drag on” with no end in sight.
Assad, the current Syrian president and the root cause of the Syrian crisis, blamed the United States, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar for prolonging the conflict with their support of rebels trying to overthrow his government. The civil war has left hundreds of thousands of people dead and displaced millions more.
Assad, now in his 16th year in office after inheriting power from his father, said he has no idea when the war will end.
“When you have many external factors that you don’t control, it’s going to drag on and no one in this world can tell you when,” he said. Assad insisted Syrian refugees who have fled the country could return within months if the United States and other foreign countries ended their support for the rebels.
We didn’t attack the aid convoy
Assad told AP that Russia was not behind a deadly attack on an aid convoy on Monday, for which U.S. officials have said they believe Moscow was responsible.
“Those convoys were in the area of the militants, the area under the control of the terrorists. That’s what they should accuse first: the people or the militants, the terrorists who are responsible for the security of this convoy,” Assad said.
“We don’t have any idea about what happened.”
“That’s what they should accuse first: the people or the militants, the terrorists who are responsible for the security of this convoy.
“So, we don’t have any idea about what happened. The only thing that we saw was a video of a burnt car, destroyed trucks, nothing else.
“We are, as a government, as officials, we are committed morally toward the Syrian people, morally, constitutionally, and legally, to help them in every aspect to have the basic needs for their livelihood.”
Aleppo isn’t under siege
Bashar al-Assad has denied his forces are besieging the rebel-held areas of Aleppo, stating that “people would dead by now” and insisting they had “everything” they needed.
“They (the rebels) have been shelling neighbouring areas and Syrian army for years, non stop shelling… how could they be starving while at the same time have armaments? How can we (the government) prevent the food and medical aid from reaching that area when we cannot stop the armaments reaching the area?”
He denied government forces had deliberately bombed hospitals in rebel-held areas, said the siege was a fiction and that only a minority were complaining. However, he accused the US, which said it accidentally bombed some of his troops over the weekend, of lying.
“No it was not an accident. If it had been one plane… but it was four airplanes that kept attacking the position of the Syrian troops for an hour or even more than an hour,” Assad told the agency. “They (US planes) were not attacking a building in a (city) quarter but a huge place concentrated of many hills and there were no terrorist groups adjacent to the Syrian groups.”
In response to questions about the suffering of the people of Aleppo, he said: “We cannot say ‘the people of Aleppo’ because the majority live under the control of the government.
“Some, allegedly claiming this (being besieged), I would tell them how could you still be alive?
“Why don’t you have epidemics if you do not have doctors? How could you accuse Syria of attacking hospitals? So you have hospitals and you have doctors and you have everything! How could you have them?”
US hit us on purpose
Assad also claimed that deadly U.S. air strikes on Syrian troops last week were intentional, rejecting U.S. statements they were an accident.
“It wasn’t an accident by one airplane…,” he said. “It was four airplanes that kept attacking the position of the Syrian troops for nearly one hour, or a little bit more than one hour. You don’t commit a mistake for more than one hour.”
He also blamed the United States for the near collapse of the most recent cease-fire. The Syrian leader contended the United States lacked “the will” to join Russia in fighting extremists in the country, even though the United States has for two years launched thousands of airstrikes against Islamic State targets inside Syria and in Iraq.
“I don’t believe the United States will be ready to join Russia in fighting terrorists in Syria…the United States is not genuine regarding having a cessation of violence in Syria.”
Assad regime describes all groups fighting against its rule in Syria as terrorists.
The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes. Sy