Assad claims FSA loses land as Russia hits non-DAESH groups

Syrian regime leader Assad says in interview that Syrian troops are advancing thanks to Russian air strikes

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Bashar al-Assad (right) speaks with a journalist from China's Phoenix television on November 22, 2015, in Damascus

Updated Nov 23, 2015

Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad has said in an interview that Syrian regime troops are advancing on "nearly every front" with the help of Russian air strikes which began in September.

In the interview with the Hong Kong based Phoenix Television, regime leader Assad said the current situation in Syria had "improved in a very good way" since Russian air strikes began on September 30.

He said, "Now I can say that the army is making advancement in nearly every front... in many different directions and areas on the Syrian ground."

Russia has been carrying out air strikes against opposition groups in Syria for nearly two months. Despite Russia saying it is targeting DAESH, Turkey, Western countries and opposition groups say Russia has been targeting opposition groups not DAESH.

Around 5,000 Syrian Turkmens were forced to evacute their villages and have fled to Turkey last Friday night after Russia launched a three day air bombardment of Turkmen villages in the Bayir-Bucak Turkmen area in Latakia.

The United Nations General Assembly’s Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee approved a resolution last Tuesday, on November 19, condemning Iran's and Russia's intervention in the Syrian civil war.

As Russia supports Syrian regime leader Assad Russia has taken a leading role in the Syrian conflict. Moscow has participated in high-level talks in Vienna with other world powers such as the USA, Turkey, Saudi Arabia in a bid to create a framework for "building peace" in Syria.

Althought there is no agreement yet about Assad’s future in Syria the Syrian regime’s allies, Russia and Iran, say he should be allowed to run in new elections if he wants.

The embattled president also said he favoured new peace talks being hosted in Moscow, but stressed that the Syrian conflict could not be resolved without "defeating terrorism."

'Do they want me or not ?'

Assad said it was his right to run in new elections but it was too early to say if he intended to do so.

He said, "[It] depends on how my feeling is regarding the Syrian people. I mean, do they want me or not? You cannot talk about something that's going to happen maybe in the next few years."

He said he appreciates Moscow's efforts to organise new dialogue between the regime and opposition groups in a "Moscow 3" conference, but he insists a political solution in Syria could only be achieved with the defeat of "terrorism."

 "We need to make the dialogue, but the concrete steps should follow at least a major defeat of the terrorists and the government takes control of a major area that has been captured by the terrorists."

The regime leader said it would take "maximum of two years" to produce a new constitution and hold a referendum on it.

The Assad regime defines all opposition gorups as "terrorists," and said the conflict which began with a crackdown anti-government protests in March 2011 as a "war on terror."

He accuses the backers of opposition groups of supporting terrorism, and said the West exploited a photograph of a Syrian refugee child, Aylan Kurdi, who had been found dead on a Turkish beach.

He said, "That photo was used as propaganda by the West’’.

"This boy and... other children suffered and died and are being killed because of the Western policies in this world, in this region."

TRTWorld and agencies