Here’s a few highlights from latest Assad interview with Russia’s Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper on October 14, 2016:
Question 2: But you said… Syria became stage of this war. Why Syria? I mean, okay, you are big country, I mean, you have oil but not like Saudi Arabia. Why exactly Syria?
President Assad: It has many aspects. The first one, if you want to talk about the regional conflict, Syria has a good relation with Iran, and Saudi Arabia wanted to, let’s say, destroy Iran completely, maybe in the political sense and maybe in the material sense or factual sense, for different reasons. So they wanted Syria to go against Iran, that’s why destroying Syria could affect Iran negatively. That’s how I look at it. The West, for them, Syria and Russia are allies for decades now, and again, if we undermine the position of Syria, we can influence the Russians negatively. But there’s something else; it’s about the historical role of Syria. Syria has played that role in the region for centuries, it was always the hub of the geopolitical dynamic in the Middle East. So, controlling Syria – since the Pharaohs, before the Christ, they used to fight for Syria, the Pharaohs and the Hittites, this is historical basis. So, it has a role, geopolitics, the position on the
Mediterranean, the society, because Syria is the fault line between the different cultures in this region; whatever happens in Syria will influence the region, negatively and positively, so controlling Syria is very important. Although Syria is small, it’s very important to control the rest of the region. Second, Syria is an independent country, and the West doesn’t accept any independent country, whether Syria as a small country, or Russia as a great power. What’s their problem with Russia? Because you say “yes” and “no. You have to keep saying “yes.” That’s the problem with the West. So, that’s why Syria.
Question 6: For me, it’s a very strange thing. Daesh, ISIS, with their ideology, never threaten Israel, and Israel never threaten Daesh, ISIS. It’s like some kind of agreement about – maybe not on friendship – but neutrality. Why, you think, it’s like this? And what’s the role of Israel in this war?
President Assad: Not only ISIS, of course, or Daesh, not only al-Nusra; anyone, any terrorist who holds a machinegun and started killing and destroying in Syria was supported by Israel, either indirectly through the logistical support on the frontier, or sometimes by direct intervention by Israel against Syria in different areas in Syria. Why? Because Israel is our enemy, because they occupy our lands, and they look at Syria as enemy of course, and for them they think if they undermine the position of Syria and make it weaker as a whole, as society, as army, as state, that will prevent Israel from moving toward the peace, and the price of the peace is to give back the Golan Heights to Syria. So, for them, Syria will be busy with another issue now, it would be busy to talk about the Golan or the peace process, or even to do anything to get back its land. That’s why Israel is supporting every terrorist, and there’s no contradiction between Israel and any organization like al-Nusra or ISIS or any Al Qaeda-linked organization.
Question 11: You said in one of your interviews that this war is difficult because it’s simple to kill terrorists, but to kill ideology, much more difficult. And when I was speaking on the front with your officers, they told “look, how to fight with man who is not afraid to die?” For him it’s just pleasure to die because 72 virgins wait for him in Paradise, yes. And our people, of course, normal people, they are afraid to die. And already it’s morale spirit not the same, much more higher… terrorists have much more higher morale spirit. How to kill this ideology?
President Assad: You’re correct. If you talk about those fighters, ideological fighters, or terrorists, let’s say, who are fighting our army, the only way is to fight them and kill them. You don’t have any other way. They are not ready for any dialogue, and you don’t have time to make dialogue, you want to protect your citizens, so you have to kill them. But that’s not enough; it’s like regenerating… like video games; you keep regenerating anything you want. You kill one, you’re going to have another ten, so there’s no end to that issue. The most important thing is in the mid-term and in the long-term is to fight this ideology through similar but moderate ideology. I mean you cannot fight extremism in Islam with any other ideology but the moderate Islam. So, this is the only way, but it takes time, it takes young generations, to work on these young generations, to work on the means and to suffocate the money that’s being paid by the Saudi government and Saudi NGOs and Saudi institutions to promote the Wahabi ideology around the world. You cannot say “I’m going to fight this ideology” and at the same time allowing their sheikhs or imams promoting, at their madrasa, promoting this dark ideology. It’s impossible. And that’s what’s happening in Europe. You’re talking about generations that lived there for generations now, the third or fourth generation living in Europe, but they send us terrorists from Europe now. They never lived in mour region, they don’t speak Arabic, maybe they don’t read Quran, but they are extremists, because they allowed the Wahabi ideology to infiltrate Europe. So, we need to deal with many things; you have to deal with the media, how to deal with their strong media that’s being financed by the petrodollar in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to promote this extremism. How to deal with it? You need many aspects and many parallel paths at the same time. This is the only way you can defeat it. But dealing with the terrorists, this is the last part, and this is the compulsory part. You cannot avoid it, but it’s not the solution.
Full interview here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9H9LE9bfsHQ,