11:15 GMT11 August 2020
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    The Syrian government headed by President Bashar Assad represents a national security threat to both the United Kingdom and Russia as it facilitates radicalization, Gareth Bayley, the UK special representative for Syria, told Sputnik in an interview.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) A number of Western and Middle Eastern countries want Assad to leave while Russia thinks that the future of Syria is with its people. Bayley stressed that despite certain agreements on Syria between the UN Security Council members, including the UK and Russia, "the challenge is that everything in this conflict comes back to the issue of Assad."

    "We [the UK] cannot believe that Assad can command a loyalty and support of the Syrian people and maintain Syrian unity. What Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, France and China of course want to see is a sustainable peace in Syria…  And we do not believe that there can be that lasting peace while he remains in power. We say that there must be a transition away from Assad for there to be this lasting, enduring peace," Bayley said adding that "the problem is a failure of government, a failure of state power discharged by Bashar Assad."

    Elaborating on why Assad has no place in Syria's future, the UK special representative recalled the content of the recent Amnesty International report on Syria claiming that the government have executed over 13,000 people, mostly civilians, following "show trials" in one of the state prisons between 2011-2015. Both the Syrian government and the Russian Foreign Ministry refuted the allegations.

    "The fundamental problem is that Assad's staying in power is a matter of some trauma and difficulty for the Syrian people. The bottom line is that Assad inspires anger and radicalization of populations in all of our countries, including Russia and the United Kingdom. He and his regime represent a national security threat to both of our countries, I would argue," Bayley stressed.

    The civil war in Syria with the government troops fighting numerous opposition groups and terrorist organizations such as the Daesh, outlawed in Russia, has been lasting for about six years.

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