The war in Syria will continue until every part of the nation’s territory is liberated from terrorists, Syrian President Bashar Assad told Sputnik, recalling how Russia’s involvement in the conflict at Damascus’ request changed the course of events and resulted in a massive counterterrorist advance.
Russia’s military assistance to Damascus is marking its fifth year. Sputnik asked the Syrian president whether after these five years he could say the war was over.
“No, definitely not. As long as you have terrorists occupying some areas of our country and committing different kinds of crimes and assassinations and other crimes, it’s not over, and I think their supervisors are keen to make it continue for a long time. That’s what we believe”, Assad replied.
The Syrian president listed Russia’s entry into the war as one of three key turning points, together with the first liberation of lands from Nusra Front terrorists* in 2013 and then the sudden emergence of Daesh* with the United States’ backing and their subsequent grab of important areas in 2014.
“Then the other turning point was when the Russians came to Syria in 2015 and we started liberating together in many areas. In that stage, after the Russians came to Syria to support the Syrian Army, I’d say the turning point was to liberate the eastern part of Aleppo — this is where the liberation of other areas in Syria started from that point. It was important because of the importance of Aleppo and because it was the beginning of the liberation — the large-scale liberation that continued later to Damascus, to the rest of Aleppo recently and other areas in the eastern part of Syria and the southern part”, Assad said.
Asked whether he could distinguish any particular acts of heroism by the Russian military in the Syrian war, the president said “there are so many”, going on to recall how Russian pilots “kept flying over the terrorists on a daily basis, risking their lives, and you had a few aircraft that were shot down by the terrorists”.
“After five years of this cooperation between the Syrian and the Russian armies in a vicious war, I think heroism is becoming a collective act”, Assad said. “What I’m going to tell my grandchildren someday is not only about this heroism but I’m also going to talk about the common values that we have in both our armies that made us brothers during this war, these noble values, faithful to their causes, defending civilians, and defending the innocent”.
The war in Syria is in its ninth year. In August 2015, Damascus asked Moscow for military assistance in countering the armed opposition forces, including terrorist organisations. Russian forces have been providing assistance on the ground and monitoring the ceasefire as well as facilitating the return of Syrian refugees and restoration of normalcy.