Speaking to Russia's NTV news channel, Bashar Assad said that the stories about the use of chemical weapons were part of the West's line directed against Damascus. "But these stories are used when their forces — the terrorists under their control, are defeated in some part of Syria."
"This story involving chemical weapons is a pretext for direct military intervention and attacks against the Syrian army," Assad added, recalling that Damascus destroyed its stockpiles of chemical weapons back in 2013.
Furthermore, he said, the terrorists from Daesh (ISIS)* and Nusra Front* will return to the idea of building a so-called caliphate, and with Western help. "This is a religious threat with political support. This doesn't happen spontaneously. They will return, because Western forces use them again and again, but under different names."
Assad recalled for example the Mujahideen fighters who fought the Soviets in Afghanistan three decades ago, and how then-President Ronald Reagan called them 'holy warriors' rather than terrorists. "Now they are called terrorists, but are used anyway. Perhaps in ten years they will be used somewhere else, under another name. This is just rebranding. This is an instrument of the West," he said.
Russian Presence in Syria Protects Russia Itself
According to Assad, the military and political presence of Russia in Syria today is also an important element to restoring the global geopolitical balance which was lost after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Syrian War Not a Civil War
Assad stressed that Syria's war was not a civil war, but a war of Syrians against mercenaries and terrorists. "We do not have a civil war, since a civil war is based on inter-confessional, ethnic, religious or other conflicts. We do not have this in Syria. You can go anywhere, particularly in government-controlled areas, and can see all the layers of Syrian society living peacefully alongside one another…The war has taught us a very important lesson. Our diverse society has become much more united than it was before the war; we learned this lesson," he said.
"It's not our people shooting at one another, but mercenaries and terrorists. In Russia too you have terrorists, and they are Russians, but they do not represent your society, but their own ideology. In Syria it is the same way," Assad explained.
The president said he was confident that the war in Syria and the destabilization of Syria was planned abroad, primarily by the US, France and Britain, as well as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Damascus Won't Let Let Western Profiteers Rebuild Syria
"Frankly, this is the best statement made by the West during the entire war in Syria," Assad said, commenting on recent statements by Western officials that they would 'not give a cent' for Syria's reconstruction while its current government was in power.
"This is better because they will not be part of the restoration of Syria; we simply will not let them do it. Will they come to us with money or not? Whether they offer a loan, a donation or grants, anything — we do not need the West. The West is distant from the concept of integrity; they do not give, they only take," Assad said.
"When European countries talk about helping to rebuild Syria, they do not think about helping Syria, but about how to make a profit," he added.
According to the president, notwithstanding the destruction of the war, Syria has the strength to rebuild. "We are certain of this," Assad stressed. "If we have no money, we will borrow from our friends —from Syrians living abroad, from our treasury. We are not concerned about this. Perhaps the restoration of Syria will take more time, but nevertheless, there is no cause for concern."
Future Term, Constitutional Reforms Will Depend on Syrians
"If there is a referendum, and people support a new constitution, we will accept it, of course, but not because this was something the UN or a foreign state wanted. This will be the decision of the Syrians," he said.
Asked whether he was concerned about what Western governments or media sometimes say about him, Assad stressed that the "drop of blood of any Syrian causes much more emotion than these fables. Secondly, when you know that it is a lie, it doesn't upset you. You can feel something when you are criticized based on real facts; then you can experience pain and suffering," he said.
In Assad's view, the "problem of the West is that they do not have statesmen, but only fake politicians. Fake politics needs fake news. Tales about chemical weapons are part of this fake. Western politicians, and I'm not talking about the people, only the politicians, there is absolutely no sense of morality or moral principles. When you encounter unprincipled people, they do not touch your heart nor your mind," he said.
*Terrorist groups banned in Russia and many other countries.