…from Press TV, Tehran
[ Editor’s Note: Assad is holding his cards close to his vest as usual. Some might think that now is not a time to be vague, but it has served him well so far. He gains nothing by telegraphing what his next move is.
He also has some restrictions in acting independently, as he has allies that have invested heavily in saving Syria from the jihadis’ cruel boot being on the country’s neck. Remember the Qatari former PM and FM said on the Charley Rose show that the US and Gulf State coalition had spent $150 billion trying to take Assad down, and he is still standing.
Assad is seen driving in Damascus by himself with no security, and the people love it. He and his wife, who has undergone chemotherapy, are known to go out to dinner with no reservations and again with no security, to the delight of the owners and the patrons.
He does not have to prove himself. He has done that. But dealing with the Kurds is going to be a delicate operation, an opportunity handed to him on a silver plate by Erdogan, who also ran the US out of North Syria. Turkey’s action left the Kurds with a huge amount of US equipment and ammo; and they know how to use it, as they have on ISIS.
Despite all of Erdogan’s whining about the terrorist threat, everyone knows about his long proxy terror war that he has supported inside Syria and still supports, even though he is an Astana Group member. He is also a man that has stated supporting Syrian sovereignty while backing the Idlib jihadis, so his word means nothing.
But Russia and Iran have interests in Turkey, important ones; and these cannot be ignored. Assad has his own balancing act that he has to maintain. So far, this has been a stellar week for regaining Syrian territory at minimal cost.
Assad wants to maintain that method of operation… Jim W. Dean ]
– First published … October 18, 2019 –
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has demanded a complete halt to Turkey’s operation against Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria, and a full withdrawal of foreign forces illegally present in Syrian territories.
During a meeting with a Russian delegation headed by the Kremlin’s special envoy on Syria,
, in Damascus on Friday, Assad said efforts must be directed at ending Operation Peace Spring and the pullout of all illegal forces, including the Turkish and American soldiers, from Syrian territories since they are considered occupying forces under international conventions.
The Syrian people are entitled to resistance by all available means, Assad said.
On Thursday, the Syrian leader said Damascus would give an appropriate response to the ground offensive by Turkish soldiers and allied Takfiri militants against Kurdish fighters in the region.
“No matter what false slogans could be made up for the Turkish offensive, it is a flagrant invasion and aggression. Syria has frequently hit (Turkish-backed) proxies and terrorists in more than one place.
Syria will respond to the assault and confront it anywhere within the Syrian territory through all legitimate means available,” Assad told the visiting Iraqi National Security Adviser Falih al-Fayyadh in Damascus.
An unnamed source at the Syrian Foreign Ministry on the same day condemned the “treacherous Turkish aggression.”
On October 9, Turkish military forces and Ankara-backed militants launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion of northeast Syria in a declared attempt to push Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG) away from border areas.
Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984. The YPG constitutes the backbone of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The Kurdish-led administration in northeastern Syria says the Turkish offensive has killed 218 civilians, including 18 children, since its outset. The fighting has also wounded more than 650 people.
Turkish authorities say 20 people have been killed in Turkey by bombardment from Syria, including eight people who were killed in a mortar attack on the town of Nusaybin by YPG militants on October 11.
Lavrentiev, for his part, stressed Moscow’s firm support for Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Kremlin’s special envoy to Syria further noted that Russia rejects any step or action that violates Syria’s sovereignty, further complicates crisis there and negatively affects attempts aimed at settlement of the conflict.
The two senior officials also exchanged viewpoints on preparations for the start of the work of Syria’s long-awaited constitutional committee.
They underlined that the most significant factor for the success of the constitutional committee is that its work must be far from foreign interference, and that all parties must respect the composition of the committee, which was formed through inter-Syrian talks.
On September 23, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said an agreement had been reached between the government of Syria and the so-called the Syrian Negotiation Commission – an umbrella opposition group supported by Saudi Arabia, on “a credible, balanced and inclusive constitutional committee.”
“It will be facilitated by the United Nations in Geneva,” Guterres told reporters, adding that it would be convened in the coming weeks.
Damascus maintains that the constitutional committee should be a purely Syrian affair to be decided by the Syrian people alone without any foreign interference.
In February, the United Nations special envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, said that he saw a constitutional committee as “the potential door-opener for the political process.”
Lavrentiev also briefed Assad on the outcome of the recent visits by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.