In a special interview with the British daily newspaper The Sunday Times, Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad admitted that his regime provides weapons to PKK's Syrian affiliate, PYD.
"We sent them [PYD] armaments, because they are Syrian citizens, and they want to fight terrorism,” he said during the interview which was published by Syria’s state news agency.
Turkey considers PYD to be the Syrian extension of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey as well as the US and European Union and sees any PYD-controlled region by its border as a national threat, deliberating that PYD is trying to create a “de facto state” in northern Syria on the pretext of fighting DAESH.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu earlier said that Turkey will destroy the weapons delivered to YPG, the armed wing of the PYD autonomous administration, in northern Syria if they are transferred to PKK or reach Turkish soil.
Assad also claimed that the Syrian Army is sending weapons to other groups, not only PYD.
“We do the same with many other groups in Syria, because you cannot send the army to every part of Syria. So, it is not only the Kurds. Many other Syrians are doing the same.”
When asked about his plans for the future he answered that he might run for president once again if there are elections before his term ends in 2021.
“It is about a political process. If this process is agreed on, then I have the right to run for elections like any other Syrian citizen… Anyway, it is early to talk about this, because as you know, this process was not agreed upon yet,” he said.
Assad denied claims that his army could collapse had it not been for Russian and Iranian support, though he still emphasised the importance of their support.
“The Russian role is very important. It has had a significant impact on both the military and political arena in Syria. But to say that without this role, the government or the state would have collapsed, is hypothetical.
Since the very beginning of the conflict in Syria, there were bets on the collapse of the government. First, it was a few weeks, then it was a few months and then a few years. Every time it was the same wishful thinking.
What is definite is that the Russian support to the Syrian people and government from the very beginning, along with the strong and staunch support of Iran, has played a very important part in the steadfastness of the Syrian state in the fight against terrorism,” he said.
Assad expressed that he is ready for a dialogue with Saudi Arabia in the case if it changes its attitude and policies towards Syria.
“If they are ready and willing to change their policies, especially with regard to Syria, we don’t have a problem meeting with them,” he said.
The war in Syria started in 2011 after peaceful demonstrations demanding freedom and better living conditions were suppressed by the Syrian regime.
Russia and Iran have been supporting the Assad and forces loyal to him, while Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the US and western countries support rebel groups.
Moscow launched an air campaign on September 30 in support of Assad, targeting Assad opponents mainly opposition groups based in the west of the country.
The war in Syria paved the way for the emergence of the terrorist group DAESH which declared the formation of a self-proclaimed caliphate in Syria and Iraq in 2014 with the Syrian city of Raqqa as its capital. A US-led coalition launched an aerial campaign to fight the group in September 2014.
The war in Syria has so far claimed the lives of over 250,000 people according to UN estimates, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that the true death toll exceeds 350,000.