Syrian president Bashar al-Assad said in a TV interview on Friday that they will not hesitate to respond with military means to a possible Turkish attack as long as the conditions allowed.
Speaking on Russia Today, Assad also made a sharp distinction between the Kurdish issue and the Kurdish forces, recognising the former as a historical legacy, while describing the latter as ‘treason’ and ‘agents’ of the United States.
“The Kurdish issue is different. If we look at it from a national perspective, Kurds constitute an ethnicity that has existed in Syria throughout history. Majority of them are patriotic. However, there are some who are not (…) The issue here is the unity of the Syrian homeland. The notion of multiple ethnicity, taking the form of cantons, or federations, is the beginning of division, whereas the Syrian diversity within a framework of national unity is enriching, and we view this positively.”
The host of the interview said: “The door is open to dialogue for everyone with the exception of those who you have described as agents, particularly of the United States.”
Assad remarked: “Sometimes we have to engage even with agents.”
The host went on: “Nevertheless I’d like to focus on the Kurdish forces, and particularly those that control the oil wells with American support. What cards does Damascus have in order to restore its assets in its territories?”
“The problem with any occupation of a country or any invasion is not the invasion itself, regardless of how big the army is. The problem lies with the agents who support the invader. This is the issue and it exists in Syria. There are forces acting under the authority of Americans and on their behalf against the unity of the Syrian society. The normal reaction, what we’re starting to see in those areas, the eastern area, is popular resistance since the vast majority of the population do not accept these deviations and refuse to deal with the occupier and this treason. This has started a conflict between these forces and the local population. As long as there are people who act as agents, the occupier will remain strong. So first, those agent should be purged. They should be weakened.”
‘We will not hesitate’
Assad was asked how they’re planning to react in case the Turkish military launched a large scale military campaign to further occupy parts of Syria. he said:
“If there’s an invasion, there will be popular resistance in the first instants. Of course the Syrian army is not deployed within all the Syrian territory but within areas where it is deployed. And when conditions allow for direct military confrontation, we will not hesitate. This was the case two and a half years ago when there was a clash between Syrian and Turkish armies. And the Syrian army destroyed some Turkish targets that had moved into Syrian territories. The same will happen again in as much as the military capabilities will allow.”
Asked about the situation in Idlib where a whole governerate is under the control of jihadist groups with Turkish military bases scattered all across the area, Assad said:
“Any land occupied by the Turks or the terrorists will be liberated in time.”