In a lengthy interview with RT last week, President Bashar al-Assad demanded the U.S. withdraw its troops from the country or risk military confrontation with Syria and possibly its Russian and Iranian allies.
Citing the U.S. intervention in Iraq as a cautionary tale, Assad said:
“The Americans should leave. Somehow, they’re going to leave. They came to Iraq with no legal basis, and look what happened to them. They have to learn their lesson. Iraq is no exception. Syria is no exception. People will not accept foreigners in this region any more.”
Assad, who once described the U.S. as a “natural” ally in the fight against terror groups, reaffirmed his commitment to reclaim the whole of Syria from U.S.-backed Kurdish groups and areas which remain under the control of ISIS.
Although the Syrian strongman drew attention to the value of diplomacy over fighting, Assad expressed a willingness to dislodge his opponents by force if necessary.
Addressing Damascus’ main opponent, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Assad revealed his preferred choice of talks:
“We’re going to use two methods to deal with the SDF: The first one, we started opening doors for negotiations — because the majority of them are Syrians. And supposedly they like their country, they don’t like being puppets to any foreigners — that’s what we suppose.”
Despite his inclination to engage in direct conversation with SDF, Assad blasted the U.S. and characterized America’s military presence in his country as a nuisance, which has lengthened Syria’s seven-year civil war.
“We all don’t trust the Americans for decades, not because of the war, because they always say a thing and do the opposite, they tell daily lies. So, we have one option is to live with each other as Syrians, like forever. This is the first option. If not, we’re going to resort to liberating by force, to liberating those areas by force.” he said.
Erupting in 2011, the Syrian civil war has claimed over 500,000 Syrian lives, has uprooted 6 million more and driven over 5 million from the country.
[CNN] [RT] [Photo courtesy AFP/Getty Images via BBC]