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F.A.Z.-Interview with Bashar al-Assad : „Europe’s backyard would become a terrorist haven“

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What do you think about the „Arab awakening,“ which some people call the „Arab spring“?

During a spring, you will see no bloodshed, no killing and no extremism. Schools are not destroyed. Children will not be prohibited from going to school. And a woman will not be prevented from dressing as she chooses. What we are experiencing today is not a spring. Just look at what is happening in Syria - killing, slaughter, decapitation, even cannibalism.

You have accused such countries as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Great Britain of meddling in Syria’s internal affairs. Aren’t Russia and Iran actively involved as well?

There is a major difference between an alliance among countries and involvement in the internal affairs of a country with the aim of destabilizing it. Countries work together with the aim of preserving their sovereignty, their independence, their decision-making freedom and their stability. The relationship between Syria and Russia, Iran and other countries that are on Syria’s side is a relationship of cooperation that is guaranteed by international law. But the countries you just mentioned are interfering in Syria’s internal affairs with the policies they are pursuing. This meddling is a glaring breach of international law and the sovereignty of a country. It is designed to destabilize the country and spread chaos and regression.

Lebanon and Iraq are experiencing religious tensions. Are Sunnis and Shiites in both countries shifting their conflicts to Syria?

If you have religious systems, religious unrest or civil wars in your neighborhood - as was the case 30 years ago in Lebanon - you will end up being drawn into the conflict. For this reason, Syria intervened in Lebanon in 1976 to defend itself and Lebanon as well. For this reason, we also follow events in Iraq because we are directly affected by them. Opposing the war in Iraq was critically important, despite the threats the Americans made at the time. Religion-based order is dangerous.

The Nusra Front is fighting on the side of the rebels in Syria. Who are they? And who is supplying them with guns and money?

The Nusra Front is a branch of Al Qaeda. It espouses the same ideology. It can be found in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan. It is primarily financed by anonymous individuals and organization who share the same ideology. They have huge sums of money and guns. The money flows directly to the Nusra Front. It is difficult to trace the source and recipients of these resources. The Nusra Front aims to create an Islamic state and primarily draws its beliefs from the Wahhabi movement of Islam. In the end, this flows into the concept of Al Qaeda - just look at the situation in Afghanistan. This primarily affects women. The Nusra Front wants to apply Islamic law, the Shariah. This is a distorted and deformed version of Islam. On YouTube, you can see just how barbaric they are. Belgian television recently showed a report in which an innocent person was beheaded with an axe. The members of the Nusra Front come from Syria, other Arab and Islamic countries as well as Europe.

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