By Jerry Alatalo
ill “The White Helmets” Academy Award scandal soon become the #1 news, front page headline story worldwide? Could wide exposure of that scandal help turn the tide toward bringing the horrific Syrian conflict, finally, to an end?
Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad granted an interview recently to a journalist from the Chinese Phoenix television channel. His response when asked to comment on Netflix’ film about the “White Helmets” winning the Oscar at the Academy Awards for Short Documentary should (if real news reporting exists) become worldwide headline news.
“First of all, we should congratulate Al Nusra for having the first Oscar – an unprecedented event for the West to give Al Qaeda an Oscar… This is unbelievable. The White Helmet story is very simple. It’s a facelift of Al Nusra is Syria, just to change their ugly face into a more humanitarian face. That’s it. You have many videos on the net, and of course images, broadcasted by the White Helmets that condemn the White Helmets as terrorist groups, where you can see the same person wearing the white helmet and celebrating the dead body of Syrian soldiers.”
“So, it’s a story just to try to prevent the Syrian Army, during the liberation of Aleppo, from more… from making pressure and attacking and liberating the districts within the city that’s been occupied by these terrorists – to say that the Syrian Army and the Russians are attacking the civilians, and the innocents, and the humanitarian people.”
While the scandal surrounding an Academy Award being bestowed upon a film about a war propaganda group called “The White Helmets” certainly merits global front page news, war and violence continues in Syria after six years of devastating conflict. The new administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has sent Marine Corps soldiers and other “boots on the ground” to Syria, with the purported mission of taking control from terrorist group ISIS of their self-proclaimed “capitol city” of Raqqa in the northeastern region of the country.
Very serious concerns have arisen in the minds of experts, analysts and others about the sending of American soldiers to Syria. Foremost of those concerns is the potential for American soldiers and Russian and/or Syrian forces, either intentionally or by accident or error, to become involved in military exchanges which could escalate into a full-on major war.
The United States and Russia are major nuclear weapons powers, making it simple to understand why men and women around the Earth are greatly worried about escalating military conflict in Syria – about more war, which as history has recorded brings enormous negative consequences for humanity.
Bashar al-Assad stated: “We are very eager to achieve a solution.” His view of ending the long conflict has two fundamental pillars: 1) fighting terrorists and 2) making dialogue, in particular he emphasized conducting talks which are among Syrians only. Assad explained the reason his government participated in recent talks with groups representing nations and factions outside of Syria: the conflict has gone on for so long they are willing to take a chance on any opportunity to end it.
When asked about new U.S. President Donald Trump, Assad said that Trump’s rhetoric about defeating ISIS as one of his top priorities was hopeful, but then noted:
“We haven’t seen anything concrete yet regarding this rhetoric, because we’ve been seeing now certain different kinds of attacks, military attacks, military raids against ISIS which is local kind of phrase; you cannot deal with terrorism on a local basis, it should be comprehensive – it cannot be partial or temporary. It should not be from the air, it should be in cooperation with the ground troops. That’s why the Russians succeeded since they supported the Syrian Army in pushing ISIS to shrink, not to extend as it used to be before that.”
“We have hopes that this administration in the United States is going to implement what we’ve heard… Take into consideration that about ISIS doesn’t mean talking about the whole terrorism. ISIS is one of the products. Al Nusra is another product. You have so many groups in Syria, that they are not ISIS – they are Al Qaeda; they have the same background of Wahhabi extremist ideology.”
The Chinese journalist then asked, “You and Donald Trump actually share the same priority which is to counter terrorism, and both of you hate fake news. Do you see any room for cooperation?”
“In theory – yes. But practically, not yet. Because there’s no link between Syria and the United States on the formal level; even their raids against ISIS I just mentioned, which are only few raids, happened without the cooperation or consultation with the Syrian Army or the Syrian government, which is illegal, as we always say. So, theoretically we share those goals… but not yet.”
It is important to note that Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has thus far had no personal contact with U.S. President Donald Trump.
After asked about the high-level meeting between military leaders of Russia, Turkey and the United States, Bashar al-Assad noted that Turkish leader Erdogan “…is Muslim Brotherhood” and has been supporting ISIS by using the Turkish border for years, that hopes have been raised with the new Trump administration, and that Russians are hoping Erdogan and Trump will agree on joining Russia and Syria to defeat terrorism. That said, Assad stressed that any foreign military forces on Syrian territory without permission from the Syrian government are, using his term, “invaders”.
“We are very close to Raqqa now.”
Interviewer: “How many days do you think this war is going to last?”
“We presume – that we don’t have foreign interventions – it will take a few months. It’s not very complicated internally. The complexity of this war is foreign interventions. This is the problem. So, now in the face of that intervention, the good thing that we gained during the war is the unity of the society. At the very beginning, many.. the vision for many Syrians wasn’t very clear about what’s happening.”
“…What we gained is this; this is our strongest foundation to end that war. We always have [unrecognizable] that ‘this year is going to be the last year..’, but at the end this is war – you can’t expect it. You can’t expect what’s going to happen precisely.”
“Have you thought of leaving this country for the safety of your family?”
“Never. After six years… I mean, the most difficult times past, it was in 2012 and 2013. Those times we never thought about it; how can I think about it now? It’s not an option. Whenever you have any kind of reluctance, you will lose – you lose not with your enemies, you will lose with your supporters. I mean the people you work with, the fighters, the Army… They will feel if you’re not determined to defend your country. We never had any fear, neither me or any member of my family.”
Pray for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and everywhere on Earth.
(Thank you to PresidencySy at YouTube)