New Delhi, Oct 12 (IANS) Ahead of the BRICS summit in Goa this week, Syria says the five-nation bloc that is emerging as a dominant force on the world stage should take a clear and unified approach against terrorism and to “uncover its supporters”.
Syrian Ambassador to India, Dr. Riad Kamel Abbas, in an interview with IANS, also appreciated India’s stand of supporting dialogue as a way to find solution to the long-drawn civil war that has left nearly 470,000 people dead, including about 10,000 children, and left hundreds of thousands disabled or displaced in the five-year conflict that has sucked in the big powers.
Abbas was also very critical of the US for “supporting terrorism” and said that secularism in Syria is the reason behind the war by Islamists.
Excerpts from the interview with IANS:
Q: What role does your country want BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) to play in resolving the current situation?
A: What we want from BRICS countries is a clear and explicit declaration in the fight against terrorism and to uncover its supporters. The intervention in the internal affairs of sovereign countries by the United States under the name of spreading democracy, and also providing support to terrorist groups in the name of humanitarian aid, without the approval and supervision of the concerned countries, is a cover to support terrorism.
Every sovereign country has the right to defend its people and territory in the ways it considers appropriate, and can solve its problems on their own unless they ask for external help.
Q: What role do you envisage for India in bringing an end to the Syrian war through BRICS or otherwise?
A: Syria highly appreciates India’s position towards the crisis in Syria, which calls for a peaceful solution to the crisis. India’s stand has been against any external interference in Syria and support of the aspirations of the Syrian people through dialogue among themselves.
Syria hopes India can participate effectively through the BRICS forum and other international organizations for clear announcement in the fight against terrorism and to unmask countries that support terrorism. Any external interference in any country without the permission of the concerned State is a form of international terrorism.
Q: What is the Syrian take on the collapse of bilateral talks between Russia and US on Syria?
A: We were very sure about its collapse. US military “by mistake” hit Syrian forces, and this mistake continued for one hour and killed many of our soldiers. US gave support to ISIS against Syrian army to occupy the mountains in north Syria.
Last Wednesday, the American army again hit the Iraqi army “by mistake”. Americans hit every army that is fighting against ISIS “by mistake”.
Q: How significant has the Russian military effort been for Syria?
A: Within three months, the Russian armed forces with cooperation of the Syrian Army has achieved 10 times more than what the US armed forces achieved against ISIS. US has conducted more than 3,000 air strikes but hasn’t killed any senior ISIS leader. We are fighting directly against American army’s followers. America leads a big army of mercenaries led by American officers.
Why is America and the UN crying for Aleppo now and not earlier? This area is controlled by the al-Nusra front. We did not see any noise from the US when al-Nusra Front was controlling Aleppo. Now, US is crying because Aleppo is surrounded by Syrian army and many foreign officers and leaders are stuck there from the countries who are making noises. I want to ask, if food cannot reach Aleppo then how come weapons reach Aleppo?
Q: Tell us about the global support for the Syrian regime.
A: President Assad is not alone. He has the support of his people, and supported by the friendly countries like Russia, Iran and other BRICS countries. I want to tell you that countries which support terrorism in Kashmir are the same countries which are supporting terrorism in Syria.
Q: Do have any hope on US-Russia cooperation on Syria in near future?
A: We don’t have any hope on cooperation between US and any country on the Syrian crisis. We know who supports terrorism.
Q: The ongoing crisis in Syria is rooted in sectarianism. Do you think secularism can bring an end to this crisis?
A: Syria was and is a secular country, and this is the reason why it is under attack. All the people who support President Assad are secular and they don’t support violence in the name of religion.
(Rohit Srivastava can be reached at [email protected])