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Assad Living his Alternative Reality - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Reuters recently published a summary on an interview conducted with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.

After going over the interview’s content, it becomes obvious that Assad is not on the same page as the rest of the world. It is apparent that he receives his briefings from unorthodox sources.

In his interview, Assad completely ruled out the bid put forward by United States President Donald Trump on establishing safe zones that would home and secure many displaced Syrians.

“It’s not a realistic idea at all,” Assad said in the transcript. “This is where you can have natural safe zones, which is our country. They don’t need safe zones at all.”

“It’s much more viable, much more practical and less costly to have stability than to create safe zones.”

Assad said safe zones would be at risk of attack from armed groups. He also welcomed U.S. forces fighting the terror group ISIS in Syria, under the sole condition of Washington coordinating military action with Damascus and recognize the legitimacy of the current Assad regime.

“If the Americans are genuine, of course they are welcome. Like any other country, we want to defeat and to fight the terrorists,” he said

“Troops is part of the cooperation … (but) you cannot talk about sending troops … if you don’t have a clear political position toward not only the terrorism, toward the sovereignty of Syria, toward the unity of Syria,” he added.

“It must be through the Syria regime.”

Assad also repeated that he would leave power if voted out by the Syrian people, saying that he would renounce his post immediately.

With all of Assad’s speech, it would seem like that relayed by a third party who has no clue of the reality of Syria today, which is far from safe or stable. Renouncing the plausibility of safe zones on the note suggesting Syria is stable is unsound.

Assad speaks of a safe Syria, but was the first to use power against its people, a decision that resulted in the death of some half a million Syrian and the displacement of eight million. His very regime threatened that if was not in full control – would burn the zones to ash.

Paradoxically, Assad boldly says that he would simply leave if the people of Syria do not want him. The very same totalitarian who unleashed the hell of chemical weapons and barrel bombs upon his people.

We stand here today questioning if Assad lives the same reality we do. He has been holding double-standards ever since Trump’s administration took power.

Assad says that Trump’s choice to prioritize fighting terrorism is promising. On the other hand, Trump says that Iran, a strong advocate for Assad, is a terrorism sponsoring state.

Despite Trump’s aversion to Iran’s role in the region, Assad contradictorily promotes that an Iran- U.S.- Russia tripartite coordination is necessary, added to a direct coordination with the Syria regime!

Matters are not limited to Assad’s proposition, but madly extends to an utter rejection to the establishment to safe zones, while Russia says that it still waits further details.

Assad has agreed to receive U.S. forces under the conditions of acknowledging his sovereignty. The Kremlin said that counterterrorism U.S. forces can coordinate with Russian forces in Syria.

More so, Russia stressed on the fact that the Syria negotiations to be held in Geneva must take place under international sponsorship.

All the above mentioned Assad statements are accounted for at a time Turkish forces are registering advances on border areas with Syria and Russia going out of their way to mediate for Iranians with the Trump administration.

We stand here baffled at the possibility of Assad being detached and living in an alternative reality.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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