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

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The media are trying to make people think that Hezbollah is fighting because the Syrian army is weak. In reality, we have achieved a number of major victories in recent months in various regions, and these victories are more important than Qusair. But nothing is reported about them. No one but the Syrian army is fighting in such areas. Local militias have been formed, and they are defending their own territory working together with the army. This is the key to our success. Qusair was of special significance because Western leaders had called it a strategic city. This is an exaggeration. But there were many armed people and arsenals in the city.

What role did Hezbollah play?

The terrorists had begun firing on Hezbollah villages on the border. It was inevitable that Hezbollah would step in with the Syrian army in order to put an end to the chaos. The Syrian army is a large force and can carry out its mission with the help of local citizens in all areas. If we really needed help, we would have deployed Hezbollah forces in the area around Damascus. You know that fighting is taking place on the outskirts of Damascus. Damascus is much more important than Qusair. Aleppo is also more important than Qusair. All major cities are. This propaganda has two purposes: First, to show that Hezbollah is doing the work. Second, to turn Western and international opinion against Hezbollah.

How large are Hezbollah’s units in Syria?

There are no units. It has sent individual fighters along the border, in places like those where the terrorists near Qusair were. They have supported the Syrian army in a mopping-up operation along the Lebanese border. Hezbollah’s forces are based toward Israel and cannot leave the south of Lebanon. And even if Hezbollah sent fighters to Syria, how many can they be? A few hundred? We are talking about a battle with 100000 Syrian soldiers. Several hundred can have an impact in one place, but certainly cannot change the balance of power in Syria.

The French and British governments claim to have proof that the Syrian army used chemical weapons. The U.S. government is now saying this as well. Why are you granting U.N. inspectors access only to Aleppo?

Let me begin with what the White House claims - that 150 people were killed by chemical weapons in one year. From a military perspective, conventional weapons can kill many more people on one day than this number. Weapons of mass destruction are capable of killing hundreds and thousands of people at once. That is why they are used. For this reason, it makes no sense to use chemical weapons to kill the same number of people that could be achieved by using conventional weapons. France and Great Britain as well as some U.S. and European leaders have said we deployed these types of weapons in some areas of Syria. We have neither declared that we possess chemical weapons nor have we denied this. If Paris, London and Washington were to have one iota of proof backing up their claims, they would have presented this evidence to the world. Where is the chain of evidence that would lead one to the conclusion that „Syria used chemical weapons?“ To prove that it is the terrorists who are using chemical weapons, we asked the United Nations to send an inspection team to the site where the terrorists deployed chemical weapons - and this was in Aleppo. The French and the British blocked this request. Had the inspection team been allowed to come, they would have determined that the terrorists were the ones who used chemical weapons. Everything that is being said about the use of chemical weapons is a continuation of the lies being told about Syria. It is an attempt to justify an increased military intervention.

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