Syrian President Bashar Assad has accused Western countries of supporting terrorism in the Arab Republic, adding that the terror is not limited by Daesh (terror group, banned in Russia).
"We need to understand that when attention is being focused on the Daesh alone, then this is an attempt to distract attention away from the fact that terrorism still exists with the support of the West. This terrorism is headed by al-Nusra [Jabhat Fatah al-Sham terror group]," Assad told journalists..
The president went on explaining how the country's governmnet views the victory over the terrorism.
"Daesh is just a part of terrorism. And while there are terrorist organizations like Daesh, al-Nusra [Jabhat Fatah al-Sham] and organizations with other names, this means that we are still at war. So the war on terrorism in Syria will be completed when the last terrorist in Syria is eliminated without reference to their name. Then you can really talk about a victory," Assad said.
However, he called the destruction of the Daesh terrorist group an important stage in the long-term battle.
"Saying that the war is over is not realistic. We are still in the state of war. Of course, we overcame an important step in this war by destroying Daesh, maybe not fully, but by crushing it in its main centers in Syria. This is an important step and a big victory," he told reporters.
According to him, Damascus welcomes the role of the UN in the Syrian settlement, provided, however, one important condition.
"If UN representatives come here to play any role in these elections, this role should be based on the UN Charter, which, in turn, is based on respect for the sovereignty of Syria and the right of its people to self-determination. And therefore, we are not worried about any part they may play. We can even say that we welcome any UN participation. But on one condition, that this capacity should be based on the sovereignty of Syria. Everything outside the scope of this condition will be rejected. It is important that this speech is clear now and in the future, "Assad said.
War Against Terror in Syria
The Syrian president's statements come in wake of the pullout of Russian troops from the Arab Republic as the main terrorist hotbeds — located mostly along the Euphrates River — have been eliminated as the result of the two-year operation against the terror group, launched upon Assad's request.
The withdrawal was announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin during his surprise visit to Syria, during which he also held a separate meeting with Assad.
Summarizing the results of the Russian military campaign, Putin mentioned other guarator-states of the Syrian peace settlement, namely Iran and Turkey, expressing hope that they would assist in establishing normalcy in the country, contributing to the eradication of terrorism.
The Syrian president has praised the Russia's assistance in the fight against terrorism by saying that "the Syrian people would not forget the Russian servicemen".