We are pleased to introduce Eyas Al Khateib, a sociologist and writer from the Syrian Arab Republic, to our readers. He kindly agreed to answer our questions about the developments in his native country.
– Dear Yass Al-Khatib, how do you assess the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic at the moment? What has changed over the course of 4 years since the contingent of the Russian Aerospace Forces deployment at the request of the legitimate government of the SAR?
– Russia’s intervention in the Syrian war at the end of September 2015 occurred after an official request from the Syrian government for military assistance to eliminate jihadist groups. The governments of Syria and Russia are convinced that terrorism is precisely global terrorism, a real threat to all countries of the world without exception, and we need to deal with this issue together.
Shortly after the start of the military operation of the Russian air forces in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with Russian television on October 11, 2015 that Russian participation would include assistance to the Syrian government in returning the land stolen from them. You can also add another goal that, I believe, Russia set for itself – to stop US influence in Syria and the Middle East as a whole. The governments of Syria and Russia know that everything America does is aimed at spreading chaos and instability in the world. The United States launched the “Arab Spring”, and ultimately, they spawned the “Islamic State”. The Middle East had to experience the consequences of American “experiments”.
The situation in Syria has improved significantly since then. The Russian military presence in Syria, I emphasize once again – at the invitation of the legal government of the country – has led to significant success. The most significant of which is the liberation and restoration of cities over which we have lost control in recent years. The Russians helped restore the ancient city of Palmyra, liberated from ISIS in March 2016, and also restore Aleppo in December 2016. Aleppo is one of the most important cities in Syria, a monument of ancient architecture, one of the oldest cities in the world. I will also mention the lifting of the long siege of Deir ez-Zor after three full years of blockade. In addition, there’s also the rebuilding of large areas of the city of Raqqa, which was once considered the “capital” and headquarters of the “Islamic State”.
Already the first two years and two months spent by Russian troops in Syria were enough for the Syrian government to be able to regain control of most of Syria’s territory, which was held by the Syrian opposition, ISIS or various groups of jihadists.
– What threats the Syrian Arab Republic faces now, and are they internal or more external in nature?
– It is wrong to regard what is happening in the Syrian Arab Republic as a civil war. This is a foreign invasion Without outside help (financial, military-technical, without exporting militants, etc.), the war in the Syrian Arab Republic would have ceased a long time ago.
Syria is faced with very acute domestic problems that lie in the issue of recovery, improving the economic situation and raising the value of the Syrian pound against the dollar. Earlier, the American dollar was worth 50 Syrian pounds, and now – 500. The recovery process has already begun, but it can take five or more years. You also need to deal with the problems of the psychological recovery of the country’s population. A man in war has seen and suffered from many disasters and needs psychological support. One of the most important problems is the return of refugees who have left their homes and cities in Syria.
As for the external threats for Syria during the war years, it was clear who are the real friends of Syria, who supported us and helped us during the war, and who fought alongside us. There is no doubt that Syria will strengthen its friendship with friendly countries that have proved their good intentions to deal with the Syrian state. These countries are priority partners for the Syrian state at all levels.
– In your opinion, what role does the West play in the development of the conflict in the SAR? How to evaluate the actions of the “International Coalition” led by the United States?
– America always proves its evil intentions and that it is a country with which it is impossible to create good relations, due to a lack of trust and, above all, its immorality. The United States is a country that seeks to steal the wealth of other countries and create unrest, conflict and internal warfare so that the United States can act as a dominant force around the world. The unipolar theory of US domination, however, failed with the outbreak of the Syrian war and the beginning of reconstruction in our country with the active and even global participation of Russia. The Americans in Syria were insulted and humiliated. Given the international alliance that the United States formed, this is a coalition that supported terrorists rather than destroying them, contrary to what Washington has been saying all the time. In most of their airstrikes, this “international coalition” was directed against the Syrian government forces, supported terrorists and promoted the occupation of cities. The “international coalition” led by the United States acted against Syria, and not in defense of Syria.
– The development of the situation in the north of the country is alarming. How do you assess the motives and goals of Turkey and the Kurdish formations?
– Turkish aggression in Syrian territory in the north is direct aggression, an attack on the territory of a neighboring country, illegal invasion and incompatibе with international laws and regulations. Fortunately, the timely intervention of Russia, which acted as a mediator, prevented a direct clash between the Syrian government forces and the Turkish army. Now the Syrian border guards and troops have reached the state border of Syria and Turkey, and the Kurdish armed formations, thanks to negotiations with the Russians, have retreated into the depths of Syrian territory. (Representatives of the armed Kurdish units of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Sunday, October 27 stated that they had finally withdrawn fighters, weapons and equipment to a 30-kilometer zone from the Syrian-Turkish border. At the moment, the positions left by the Kurds are occupied by the Syrian border guards. – EP) The immediate cause of the armed aggression of Turkey is eliminated.
Kurds are a group of the Syrian people, and the Syrian government sees them as Syrian citizens who enjoy all the rights that any Syrian citizen has.
The Syrian government’s problem is with Kurdish separatist groups that didn’t have the Syrian national interests in mind during this war, and the Syrian government lost confidence in Kurdish autonomy in the north because it violated all treaties, sided with the Americans and waved the possibility of secession. Unfortunately, the Kurds never learned from previous disappointment lessons in the US and Israel. The Americans betrayed them again.
The Syrian state intends to free all Syrian cities from illegal foreign armed forces and regain control over all areas. Arab opponents of President Erdogan are united in one front, with regard to Turkish military intervention in northern Syria. Their support for Syria and its territorial integrity, and their call for an emergency meeting of foreign ministers reinforce optimism. As well as Russian intervention in preventing a direct clash between Syrian and Turkish troops. Apparently this collision was avoided.