Bashar al-Assad has insisted that his regime’s armed forces must continue “to clean” up Aleppo city, even as diplomats are preparing to halt bloodshed in rebel-held areas of the city.
Assad regime, backed by Russia, said on September 22 it was starting a new wide offensive to recapture the rebel-held parts of Aleppo after a week-long ceasefire was declared officially over on 19 September.
In an interview to a Russian newspaper, Assad said recently that the Syrian government has no option but to press on with its offensive.
“You have to clean. You have to keep cleaning this area and push the terrorists to Turkey … to go back to where they come from, or to kill them,” he said.
“There’s no other option, but Aleppo is going to be a very important springboard to do this move,” he added.
He further said, “It’s going to be the springboard, as a big city, to move to other areas, to liberate other areas from the terrorists, this is the importance of Aleppo now”.
There are about 275,000 people trapped by the siege of eastern Aleppo, where civilians are suffering through daily bombing, including by bunker-buster and incendiary weapons, and through starvation, as limited supplies run out and aid convoys are blocked from the city. More than 700 civilians died since the start of the military operations, according to civil defence sources.
However, new talks are under way in Switzerland as the US and Russia try to broker another ceasefire in Syria, after the previous one failed.
The Cold War never ended
Assad described the war in his country as “one theater” of a global confrontation between Russia and the West, which he accused of using terrorism like a political “trump card.”
said the conflict there had already taken on the character of Cold War-era, raising the spectre of proxy conflicts like Vietnam and Korea.
“Today we are seeing an escalation of the situation that looks like a Cold War in the process of development,” he said.
“There are many political theatres in this process, and Syria is one of the most important.”
“The main goal is to preserve American hegemony over the world, to prevent anyone else from being a partner in the political or international arena ,” he added.
“This is something that appeared quite recently, because I think the West, and especially the United States, never stopped the Cold War even after the fall of the Soviet Union,” he said.
Asked if the Syrian war was now a Russian-American conflict, he said: “yes,” adding that “Syria is only one part of this war.”
In an admission of the extent of his reliance on Moscow, Assad acknowledged that “Russian intervention was the key factor that turned the balance of the war” in his favour.