The Guardian featured Saturday an interview that Argentine newspaper Clarin held with Syrian President Bashar Assad,
who said that Israel
was supporting the Syrian opposition, which he dubbed terrorists.
"Israel is directly supporting the terrorist groups in two ways, firstly it gives them logistical support and it also tells them what sites to attack and how to attack them. For example, they attacked a radar station that is part of our anti-aircraft defenses, which can detect any plane coming from overseas, especially from Israel."
The Syrian president insisted that the rebels were the ones who bombed a radar site of Assad's army, thereby enabling an undetected Israeli airstrike.
Repeatedly referring to the rebels as terrorists, Assad added that Israel was sent to bomb Syria
in order "to raise the morale of the terrorist groups."
Regarding accusations that the Syrian army had been using excessive force, the Syrian president said "How does one define excessive force? How can one decide whether excessive force has been used or not? What is the formula to be applied?"
He argues that the more pertinent issue was the "extent of the terrorism we have suffered," in response to which the extent of the response should be measured.
Assad suggested that any reports pertaining to the use of chemical weapons in his country were lies spread by the West in order to justify military intervention in the Syrian war. "The West lies and falsifies evidence to engineer wars," he stated. "It is a habit of theirs."
Assad spoke with Clarin from his palace's library and said that the rebel groups were not a unified force, but rather a myriad of bands, a fact that makes the possibility to reach any ceasefire agreement with the opposition all the more difficult. "They are not a single entity," he stressed. "They are different groups and bands, not dozens but hundreds. They are a mixture and each group has its local leader. And who can unify thousands of people? We can't discuss a timetable with a party if we don't know who they are."
As for diplomatic efforts by the international community, Assad asserted that "Believing that a political conference will stop terrorism on the ground is unreal."
The president also addressed reports that Hezbollah
Revolutionary Guards had joined the fighting in Syria, noting that though" There are people here from Hezbollah and Iran… they have been coming and going in Syria since long before the crisis."
"We do not have fighters from outside Syria," he said.
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