Assad links political settlement with military successes in Syria

Source:  Daily Times Published in World on Wednesday, March 30, 2016

DAMASCUS - The Syrian Army’s success on the battlefield, with Russia’s support, is going to speed up a political settlement in Syria, not hinder it, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad believes.

“Because there are those who accuse us and Russia of [hindering the peace process], when trying to present Russia's intervention aimed at countering terrorism as an intervention to support the president or the Syrian government, and thus, as an obstacle in the way of the political process,” he said.

Assad named Saudi Arabia, Turkey, France and the United Kingdom among countries that “are counting on our defeat on the battlefield in order to impose their conditions at the negotiations”.

“So these military actions and successes will lead to the acceleration of the political settlement, and not prevent it,” he said, the Russia Today channel reported on Wednesday.

Throughout all five years of the conflict Damascus has always been ready to negotiate and remained flexible, even when dealing with unfriendly opponents, putting everything at stake to find a compromise, years before Russia intervened in the Syrian crisis militarily, he added.

“The goal is not to miss a single chance for settlement, without [first] trying it,” Assad said, adding that “If [you] go back to the policy of the Syrian state five years ago, we responded to all the initiatives, without exception, coming from all sides - even if they were not friendly”.

“The support provided by friends of Syria and the military achievements of the Syrian Army — all this will lead to an acceleration of the political settlement, and not the opposite. We have not changed our position, not before the support from Russia nor after,” the Syrian president stressed.